Study Shows Long COVID More Common in Patients Hospitalized for Acute COVID Infection

Feb. 14, 2024
The study also showed that hospitalized adults with COVID had increased risk for certain conditions like diabetes

A new study of around 3 million U.S. adults and 675,000 children reveals that hospitalized adults and children with COVID-19 had 17% and 18% increased odds respectively of being diagnosed with one or more long-COVID symptoms 31 to 150 days after the positive test.

The study, published in BMC Infectious Diseases, also showed that “adults and kids have a 50% and 40% higher risk of having shortness of breath after recovery from COVID-19, respectively.”

The researchers used electronic health record (EHR) data to “track which specific symptoms were more likely to appear among adult and pediatric COVID patients compared to other hospitalized patients with negative COVID tests.” They used “hospitalization within 16 days of a positive test” for COVID as a “proxy for COVID-19 severity.”

The authors specifically assessed a number of conditions in the time period 1 to 6 months after COVID testing, including mental health conditions, chronic kidney disorders, diabetes, and hematologic disorders. They also assessed the patients for common PASC, or long-COVID, symptoms, like fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, change in bowel habits, sleep disorders, and muscle pain, among others. They found that hospitalized adults with a positive test “had increased odds of being diagnosed as having three or more symptoms or fatigue compared with those testing negative.” The study also found that “hospitalized adults with positive COVID tests were…at increased risk for being newly diagnosed as having type 1 or type 2 diabetes…hematologic disorders…or respiratory disease.”

The researchers also found that hospitalized patients are more likely to have long COVID than COVID-positive and -negative patients who were not hospitalized. They concluded that clinicians and public health agencies need to specifically be on the lookout for “the development and persistence of symptoms and conditions after COVID-19” among those who are hospitalized. They also emphasized that this higher burden should “encourage investment in clinical and public health resources needed to deliver care to treat and prevent PASC.”

CIDRAP’s website has the news.