Up to one in two people hospitalized with severe Covid-19 will develop other health complications, according to a new comprehensive study released on Friday.
The study authors said their findings showed a “profound” short-term and long-term health impact on Covid-19 patients as well as on health and care services.
Data from over 70,000 hospital patients in over 300 UK hospitals were collected for the research.
He found that the most common health complications were problems with the patients’ kidneys and lungs, but neurological and cardiovascular disorders were also widely reported.
The complication rate was high even among “young, previously healthy” patients, with 27% of 19-29 year olds and 37% of 30-39 year olds having experienced at least one complication after being hospitalized with Covid-19.
The authors of the research, published in the medical journal The Lancet, said it should alert policymakers to the need to plan for long-term support for Covid survivors.
“This work contradicts current accounts that Covid-19 is only dangerous in people with existing co-morbidities and the elderly,” said lead author Professor Calum Semple of the University of Liverpool.
“The severity of illness on admission is a predictor of complications even in young adults, so preventing complications requires a primary prevention strategy, ie vaccination. “
The data showed that complications were more common in men than in women and slightly higher in black patients than in white patients.
Significantly, nearly one in three patients – 27% – were found to be less able to care for themselves after discharge from hospital, regardless of age, gender or race.
The authors said the complications recorded in the research were distinct from the so-called ‘Covid long’, where people with the disease show symptoms directly related to the disease for weeks and often months after infection.
They called for longer-term follow-up of the health impacts of Covid patients and said governments should be ready to organize specialized follow-up care for survivors.
“It is important that with the high risk of complications and the impact they have on people, that complications from Covid-19 – not just death – are taken into account when making decisions about the best way to fight the pandemic, ”said co-author Aya Riad, University of Edinburgh.
“Focusing only on death from Covid-19 is likely to underestimate the true impact, especially among young people who are more likely to survive severe COVID-19. ”
© 2021 AFP