Study finds COVID-19 increases risk of serious health problems

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine on Tuesday suggests that people who are hospitalized with COVID-19 have a heightened risk of developing serious conditions, such as heart failure, dementia, and depression, within a year of their hospitalization. The study, conducted by researchers in Ontario, indicates that the long-term health outcomes may be related to the severity of patients’ illnesses, rather than a direct consequence of COVID-19 itself. The findings suggest that patients require substantial care after hospitalization and the health care system needs to consider how it can better provide that care, particularly to older adults with multiple health conditions. The study analyzed the health data of over 379,000 adults in Ontario and compared those who were hospitalized with COVID-19 with patients who were hospitalized with influenza before the start of the pandemic, and those hospitalized with sepsis, a blood infection, both before and after the start of the pandemic. COVID-19 was associated with a higher risk of venous thromboembolism, or blood clots, stroke, and depression or anxiety within the first 30 days of leaving the hospital. However, these risks appeared to dissipate after 30 days. Dr. Kieran Quinn, the study’s lead author and assistant professor in the University of Toronto’s department of medicine, emphasized the need to take measures, including vaccination, to prevent serious illness from infections. Nitin Mohan, an assistant professor in the department of microbiology and immunology at Western University, who was not involved in the study, said the findings are helpful for understanding the health care resources that will be needed to prepare for the long-term effects of COVID-19.


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