Almost a third of recovered COVID-19 patients end up back in the hospital within five months — and up to one in eight die of complications from the illness, according to a report.
Researchers at the UK’s Leicester University and the Office for National Statistics found that out of 47,780 people discharged from the hospital, 29.4 percent were readmitted within 140 days, the Telegraph reported.
Of the total, 12.3 percent succumbed to the illness, it added.
Many people who suffer long-lasting effects of the coronavirus develop heart problems, diabetes and chronic liver and kidney conditions, according to the report.
“People seem to be going home, getting long-term effects, coming back in and dying. We see nearly 30 percent have been readmitted, and that’s a lot of people. The numbers are so large,” study author Kamlesh Khunti said.
“The message here is we really need to prepare for long COVID. It’s a mammoth task to follow up with these patients and the NHS is really pushed at the moment, but some sort of monitoring needs to be arranged,” added Khunti, a professor of primary care diabetes and vascular medicine at Leicester University.
The study — which Khunti described as the largest of people discharged from a hospital after being admitted with COVID-19 — found that survivors were nearly 3½ times more likely to be readmitted, and die, in 140 days than other outpatients.
Khunti said the researchers were surprised that many people were readmitted with a new diagnosis, adding that it was important to make sure people were placed on protective therapies, including statins and aspirin.
Patients suffering from COVID-19 are monitored at the UMass Memorial DCU Center Field Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts.JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images
“We don’t know if it’s because COVID destroyed the beta cells which make insulin and you get Type 1 diabetes, or whether it causes insulin resistance, and you develop Type 2, but we are seeing these surprising new diagnoses of diabetes,” he said.
“We’ve seen studies where survivors have had MRS scans and they’ve cardiac problems and liver problems,” Khunti added. “These people urgently require follow-up and the need to be on things like aspirin and statins.”
The new study was published on a pre-print server and has not yet been peer reviewed.
Medical workers care for a patient suffering from the COVID-19 virus at the UMass Memorial DCU Center Field Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts.JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images