Half of Covid-19 hospital patients ‘have experienced at least one complication’

Nilima Marshall, PA Science Reporter
·2-min read

Nearly half of adults admitted to hospital with Covid-19 have experienced at least one health-related complication, with one in four having trouble coping at home after discharge, research suggests.

The findings, which involved more than 73,000 patients across 302 healthcare facilities in the UK between January 17 and August 4 2020, were presented to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) on February 4.

Complications were most common in males, those aged 30 and over, and in patients with underlying health conditions, the scientists said in the document published on Friday.

The overall mortality rate was 31.5% (23,092), and nearly half of the participants (49.7%) experienced at least one health complication, such as heart, kidney or respiratory problems.

The findings showed one in four of those with complications had difficulties coping at home after discharge.

Unfavourable outcomes were most commonly observed in the kidneys (24.3%), respiratory systems (18.4%), as well as the entire body (16.3%).

Cardiovascular (12.3%), neurological (4.3%), and gastrointestinal (10.8%) complications were also reported.

Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London and one of the co-authors on the ISARIC study, said: “Most planning with respect to Covid has focused on mortality, for example in setting the priority groups for vaccination.

“The ISARIC4C study is the largest of its kind in the world, systematically collecting data on the features of those admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in the UK.

“We now show that there are other severe outcomes that need to be taken into account in estimating the impact of Covid-19; long-term complications are especially common in males, those aged 30 and over and in patients with comorbidities.

“Renal problems are seen in about a quarter of all cases, but respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological and hepatic complications are also significant.”

He added: “About one in four of those with complications have trouble coping at home after discharge.

“The severe outcomes we now describe are seen even in younger age groups and those with few pre-existing risk factors.

“The persistent effects of severe Covid that we identify need to be factored in when planning preventive and therapeutic interventions, including vaccine prioritisation.

“Further studies are needed to understand how these adverse outcomes arise and how they can be prevented and treated.”