Chennai: A new study in the United States has found that nearly one in 10 patients diagnosed with Covid-19 needed to return to the hospital within a week of discharge from an emergency department visit.
The research assessed data from more than 1,400 patients who were admitted during the first three months of the pandemic.
Published in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine, the study assessed data of Covid-19 patients from the Philadelphia region in the US between March and May 2020.
It found that factors like lower pulse oximetry levels, and fever were some of the most telling symptoms that resulted in return trips that resulted in admission.
The study’s lead author Austin Kilaru from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in the US, “We hope this study helps emergency clinicians have more informed conversations with patients suspected to have Covid-19.”
“It can be difficult to make this diagnosis and send patients home without knowing if they will get sick in the coming days. This study gives clinicians a few signposts to know how often and when patients may need to return, and what risk factors to pay attention to,” Kilaru added.
In the research, the scientists looked at 1,419 patients who went to an emergency department (ED) between 1 March and 28 May, 2020, were discharged, and tested positive for COVID-19 in the seven days surrounding that visit.
As per the study, 4.7 per cent of the patients returned to the hospital and were admitted within just three days for their initial ED visit, and an additional 3.9 per cent were hospitalised within a week.
In total, the researchers said 8.6 percent of patients were coming back to the hospital after their first ED visit due to Covid-19.
Kilaru said, “We were surprised with the overall rate that patients return and need admission, which is twice that of other illnesses.”
He added: “The concern is not that emergency physicians are making wrong decisions, but rather that COVID-19 can be unpredictable and turn severe rather quickly.”
Compared to patients in the 18 to 39 years of age range, the researchers said those over 60 were more than five times as likely to require hospitalisation after being discharged from their initial emergency department visit.
The study noted that people in the 40 to 59 age range were three times as likely to require hospitalisation than the younger group.