THURSDAY, Feb. 10, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Thirty-two percent of adults aged 65 years and older have one or more persistent or new clinical sequelae after acute infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), according to a study published online Feb. 9 in The BMJ.
Ken Cohen, M.D., from Optum Labs in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study involving adults aged 65 years and older to characterize the risk for persistent and new clinical sequelae after the acute phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Individuals enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan with coverage of prescription drugs who had SARS-CoV-2 infection (87,337 individuals) were matched by propensity score to three comparison groups without COVID-19: a 2020 comparison group (87,337 individuals), historical 2019 comparison group (88,070 individuals), and historical comparison group with viral lower respiratory tract illness (73,490 individuals).
The researchers found that 32 percent of the adults who were diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 sought medical attention for one or more new or persistent clinical sequelae in the postacute period, which was 11 percent higher than that of the 2020 comparison group. Relative to the 2020 comparison group, the greatest risk differences were seen for respiratory failure, fatigue, hypertension, memory difficulties, kidney injury, mental health diagnoses, hypercoagulability, and cardiac rhythm disorders (risk differences, 7.55, 5.66, 4.43, 2.63, 2.59, 2.50, 1.47, and 2.19, respectively). The findings were similar relative to the 2019 comparison group. For most, but not all, clinical sequelae, individuals with severe COVID-19 requiring hospital admission had a markedly increased risk.
“Our results provide clinicians with a comprehensive understanding of the excess risk for the most important sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the postacute phase,” the authors write.
Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
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