File photo: Nearly 80 percent of the downstream deaths among patients with Covid-19 were for causes other than respiratory or cardiovascular. Picture: AP
File photo: Nearly 80 percent of the downstream deaths among patients with Covid-19 were for causes other than respiratory or cardiovascular. Picture: AP

Severe Covid-19 increases risk of death in following year, new study finds

By IANS Time of article published Dec 1, 2021

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New Delhi - A new study provides evidence that the increased risk of death from Covid-19 is not limited to the initial episode of Covid, but a severe episode of Covid-19 carries with it a substantially increased risk of death in the following 12 months, Frontiers in Medicine said.

This study demonstrates a previously undocumented risk to infection with Covid-19, particularly for patients who are hospitalized for the coronavirus infection. These patients have a substantially increased risk for mortality over the next 12 months.

The benefits of preventing severe Covid-19 goes beyond flattening the curve for overwhelming the health system with hospitalized patients but extends to decreased 12-month mortality risk for conditions other than Covid-19 directly.

In fact, the risk of 12-month mortality among adults under 65 who are hospitalized with Covid-19 is increased by 233 percent over those who are Covid negative.

Nearly 80 percent of the downstream deaths among patients with Covid-19 were for causes other than respiratory or cardiovascular.

Since these deaths were not for a direct Covid-19 cause of death among these patients who have recovered from the initial episode of Covid-19, this data suggests that the biological insult from Covid-19 and physiological stress from Covid-19 is significant.

This study adds to the accumulating literature of post-acute sequelae following a Covid-19 infection.

While those 65 and older are more likely to be hospitalized and die from Covid-19 than those under 65, the study found the 12-month mortality of those under 65 hospitalized with Covid-19 to be increased more than their older counterparts when compared to the Covid-19 negative group.

"Even though we focused primarily on all cause mortality, we were able to determine the impact of Covid-19 on both downstream respiratory and cardiovascular death risk", the study said.

Of the 13 638 patients included in this cohort, 178 had severe Covid, 246 had mild/moderate, and 13 214 were Covid-19 negative. In the cohort, 2,686 died in the 12-month period.

The 12-month adjusted all-cause mortality risk was significantly higher for patients with severe Covid-19 compared to both Covid-19 negative patients and mild Covid patients. The vast majority of deaths (79.5 percent) were for causes other than respiratory or cardiovascular conditions.

These novel findings identify critical areas for future research and demonstrate the pervasive nature of Covid-19 sequelae. They also suggest that individuals are dying of a variety of conditions.

Based on the evidence that contracting severe Covid-19 infection increases the risk of death after surviving the episode, it is clear that prevention of significant Covid-19 infection is the most effective way to decrease the risk of death following Covid-19.

Mitigation strategies like masking, physical distancing and improved ventilation are useful strategies to prevent infection. Vaccination is a measure that can both prevent and substantially decrease the risk of a severe Covid infection, as it has been shown that breakthrough infections are mild-moderate in severity.

There were no significant differences in mortality risk between patients with mild/moderate infection and the Covid-19 negatives, suggesting the value of vaccinations at preventing death from the downstream complications of Covid-19.

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