Rates of serious clinical outcomes in survivors of hospitalisation with COVID-19
Rates of serious clinical outcomes in survivors of hospitalisation with COVID-19: a descriptive cohort study within the OpenSAFELY platform
Background: Patients with COVID-19 are thought to be at higher risk of cardiometabolic and pulmonary complications, but quantification of that risk is limited. We aimed to describe the overall burden of these complications in survivors of severe COVID-19.
Methods: Working on behalf of NHS England, we used linked primary care records, death certificate and hospital data from the OpenSAFELY platform. We constructed three cohorts: patients discharged following hospitalisation with COVID-19, patients discharged following hospitalisation with pneumonia in 2019, and a frequency-matched cohort from the general population in 2019. We studied eight cardiometabolic and pulmonary outcomes. Absolute rates were measured in each cohort and Cox regression models were fitted to estimate age/sex adjusted hazard ratios comparing outcome rates between discharged COVID-19 patients and the two comparator cohorts.
Results: Amongst the population of 31,716 patients discharged following hospitalisation with COVID-19, rates for majority of outcomes peaked in the first month post-discharge, then declined over the following four months. Patients in the COVID-19 population had markedly increased risk of all outcomes compared to matched controls from the 2019 general population, especially for pulmonary embolism (HR 12.86; 95% CI: 11.23 - 14.74). Outcome rates were more similar when comparing patients discharged with COVID-19 to those discharged with pneumonia in 2019, although COVID-19 patients had increased risk of type 2 diabetes (HR 1.23; 95% CI: 1.05 - 1.44).
Conclusions: Cardiometabolic and pulmonary adverse outcomes are markedly raised following hospitalisation for COVID-19 compared to the general population. However, the excess risks were more comparable to those seen following hospitalisation with pneumonia. Identifying patients at particularly high risk of outcomes would inform targeted preventive measures.