Characterization of Patients Who Return to Hospital Following Discharge from Hospitalization For COVID-19
Somani, Sulaiman et al.
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Background: Data on patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) who return to hospital after discharge are scarce. Characterization of these patients may inform post-hospitalization care. Methods and Findings: Retrospective cohort study of patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 discharged alive from five hospitals in New York City with index hospitalization between February 27th-April 12th, 2020, with follow-up of ≥14 days. Significance was defined as P<0.05 after multiplying P by 125 study-wide comparisons. Of 2,864 discharged patients, 103 (3.6%) returned for emergency care after a median of 4.5 days, with 56 requiring inpatient readmission. The most common reason for return was respiratory distress (50%). Compared to patients who did not return, among those who returned there was a higher proportion of COPD (6.8% vs 2.9%) and hypertension (36% vs 22.1%). Patients who returned also had a shorter median length of stay (LOS) during index hospitalization (4.5 [2.9,9.1] vs. 6.7 [3.5, 11.5] days; Padjusted=0.006), and were less likely to have required intensive care on index hospitalization (5.8% vs 19%; Padjusted=0.001). A trend towards association between absence of in-hospital anticoagulation on index admission and return to hospital was also observed (20.9% vs 30.9%, Padjusted=0.064). On readmission, rates of intensive care and death were 5.8% and 3.6%, respectively. Conclusions: Return to hospital after admission for COVID-19 was infrequent within 14 days of discharge. The most common cause for return was respiratory distress. Patients who returned had higher proportion of COPD and hypertension with shorter LOS on index hospitalization, and a trend towards lower rates of in-hospital treatment-dose anticoagulation. Future studies should focus on whether these comorbid conditions, longer LOS and anticoagulation are associated with reduced readmissions.