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India is currently experiencing a sudden spike in the number of active COVID-19 cases from across the states. According to the officials, the country recorded its highest daily rise in COVID-19 cases this year with 72,330 new infections being reported in a span of 24 hours, taking the total tally of cases to 1,22,21,665. At a time when the fight against the deadly virus is still on, researchers have revealed that once the virus infects a human body it not just affects the immune system or other organs temporarily, but also makes the body suffer from some serious health complications even after getting recovered. The recent reports have stated that many recovered COVID-19 patients who were discharged from the hospitals reportedly diagnosed with multiple organ failure.
Earlier, Long-Covid was reported among many recovered patients. Some of these long-term illnesses were heart, kidney, and liver complications. What is long-COVID? Health experts have said that any unexplained symptoms that continue for more than 12 weeks after Covid-19 can be considered as a Long-COVID syndrome. To add more to the already existing woes, a recent report has suggested that some recovered COVID-19 patients were also suffering from multiple organ damage. How? To investigate this, a team of UK researchers from the Office for National Statistics, University College London, and the University of Leicester set out to compare rates of organ dysfunction in individuals with covid-19 several months after discharge from hospital with a matched control group from the general population.
Their findings are based on 47,780 individuals (average age 65, 55% men) in a hospital in England with Covid-19 who were discharged alive by 31 August 2020. Participants were matched with controls, based on personal characteristics and medical history. Health records were then used to track rates of hospital readmission (or any admission for controls), death from any cause, and diagnoses of respiratory, cardiovascular, metabolic, kidney, and liver diseases until 30 September 2020.
Over an average follow-up of 140 days, nearly a third of individuals who were discharged from hospital after acute covid-19 were readmitted (14,060 of 47,780) and more than 1 in 10 (5,875) died after discharge.
These events occurred at rates of 766 readmissions and 320 deaths per 1,000 person-years, which were four and eight times greater, respectively, than those in matched controls.
Rates of respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes were also significantly raised in patients with covid-19, with 539, 66, and 29 new-onset diagnoses per 1,000 person-years, respectively (equivalent to 27, three, and 1.5 times greater than in matched controls).
Differences in rates of multiorgan dysfunction between patients with COVID-19 and matched controls were greater for individuals aged less than 70 than for those aged 70 or older, and in ethnic minority groups compared with the white population, with the largest differences seen for respiratory disease. Differences in disease rates between men and women were generally small.
This was a large, well-designed study using 10 years of historical clinical records to exactly match individuals with COVID-19 to controls. However, the findings are observational, and the authors cannot rule out the possibility that rates of diagnoses, in general, might have decreased indirectly because of the pandemic, particularly in people not admitted to hospital with COVID-19.
"Our findings suggest that the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of post-covid syndrome requires integrated rather than organ or disease-specific approaches," they write. And they say urgent research is needed "to understand the risk factors for post-covid syndrome so that treatment can be targeted better to demographically and clinically at-risk populations."
(With inputs from Agencies)
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