Shorter time between symptom onset and hospitalisation associated with severe COVID-19 symptoms, finds study

The results of the study showed that after ECMO, the in-hospital death rate after 90 days was only 37.4 percent, whereas it was 46 percent in the group that received conventional treatment

Myupchar September 28, 2020 16:27:15 IST
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Shorter time between symptom onset and hospitalisation associated with severe COVID-19 symptoms, finds study

A patient with symptoms related to COVID-19 is brought to a field hospital. AP

As of 28 September morning, the global COVID-19 toll crossed the mark of 10 lakhs. While earlier it was believed that only older patients and those with pre-existing conditions are prone to experience severe symptoms of the infection, now it is being reported that healthy people of all ages can get severely affected by the novel coronavirus.

Moreover, a study presented at the online ESCMID Conference on COVID-19, held in the month of September, showed that people who get admitted to the hospital shortly after they start showing symptoms are at a higher risk of developing severe complications and even death.

Shorter time span between symptom onset and hospitalisation

For this study, scientists collected medical records and clinical information of 252 patients who were hospitalised due to COVID-19 severity between 14 March and 14 May. These patients were divided into two groups on the basis of the time between the onset of symptoms and hospitalisation - patients who were admitted to the hospital within three days of showing symptoms (33 percent) and patients who were admitted after seven days of onset of symptoms (27 percent).

The results of the study showed that patients who were admitted to the hospital within three days were in the sixth decade of their life. While 59 percent of them had hypertension, 14 percent had chronic kidney disease. The ones who were admitted to the hospital after seven days were in their late 50s, of which 41 percent had hypertension and three percent had chronic kidney disease.

However, it was noticed that people who were hospitalised within three days showed fewer common symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, shortness of breath, cough and body pain as compared to the other group. Rather, they presented with severe complications, such as acute respiratory distress syndrome and were more prone to organ failure.

It was further seen that the group which was admitted to the hospital within three days had a 15 percent mortality rate while it was only three percent for the other group.

Even after one week of antiviral therapy, it was found that the mortality rate was at 23 percent in those who were admitted within three days, whereas it was five percent in those who were admitted after a week.

ECMO may help critically-ill COVID-19 patients survive 

The severely complicated cases of COVID-19 are being managed with the help of ventilators. However, there have been cases where the patient does not respond to the ventilators and in those cases, doctors have been using ECMO.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, commonly known as ECMO, is a life support machine, which is used for critically ill people with impaired heart and lungs. The ECMO machine pumps the blood and adds oxygen to it outside the body of the patient, thus giving time to the heart and lungs to heal.

In a study published in The Lancet on 25 September, it was found that with the use of ECMO, the life of critically-ill COVID-19 patients can be saved.

In this study, the scientists included 1,035 COVID-19 patients from around 36 countries who were at an extremely high risk of death, as ventilators and other methods to support their lungs had failed, were finally given ECMO.

The results of the study showed that after ECMO, the in-hospital death rate after 90 days was only 37.4 percent, whereas it was 46 percent in the group that received conventional treatment. With this study, scientists believe that ECMO can help in reducing the mortality rate of COVID-19 across the world.

For more information, read our article on ECMO.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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