Nearly 10,000 patients admitted to U.S. hospitals for the coronavirus between March and July were readmitted to the same hospital within two months of their release, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That amounts to nearly 10 percent of all hospitalized patients, adding to the growing body of evidence that suggests that even people who technically recover from covid-19 may continue to struggle with complications long after the fact.
Published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the study is based on records from 126,137 coronavirus patients. About 15 percent died while hospitalized, leaving 106,543 survivors. By August, 9,504 of those survivors had been readmitted to the same facility in the two months following their discharge.
The researchers found that people 65 and older were more likely to be readmitted, as were those with chronic health conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease. Patients who were discharged to a skilled nursing facility or the care of a home health aide, or who had been hospitalized in the three months leading up to their diagnosis, were also more likely to be readmitted.
Although people of color have been disproportionately affected by the virus, the report found that White people were more likely to be readmitted than other racial and ethnic groups.
Diseases affecting the circulatory, digestive or respiratory systems were the most common diagnoses for patients who required hospitalization again, the study says. In the future, researchers plan to look more closely at readmission data to better understand the long-term effects of the coronavirus and identify long-term symptoms that require ongoing care.
The study has some notable limitations: As the researchers acknowledge, it does not account for people who received care at a different hospital after their initial treatment or those who experience long-term symptoms but are not readmitted to the hospital.