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Nurses close the curtains on a patient’s room in the intensive care unit at Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey, BC, on June 4, 2021.JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

People have an increased risk of developing serious conditions, such as heart failure, dementia and depression, within a year of being hospitalized for COVID-19, similar to survivors of hospitalization for other infectious diseases, such as influenza and sepsis. researchers in Ontario have found.

In a study published Tuesday in JAMA Internal Medicine, the researchers said many of these long-term health consequences may be related to the severity of the patients’ illness, rather than a direct result of COVID-19 itself.

These findings suggest that people need significant care after being hospitalized for COVID-19 and other serious infectious diseases, and that the health care system needs to consider how to better provide that care, especially to older adults with multiple health conditions, said doctor Toronto. -scientist Kieran Quinn, lead author of the study and assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine.

“These consequences of hospitalization, in general, will have a significant and lasting impact on people and our health care system,” said Dr. Quinn.

He added that the study results “reinforce that COVID is – and the after effects are – serious, but so are many other health conditions.”

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Before seasonal flu patterns were disrupted during the pandemic, influenza caused an estimated 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths per year in Canada, with many of those deaths occurring among long-term care residents.

Patients with COVID-19 recorded more than 125,900 hospital stays in Canada between April, 2021 and March, 2022, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. The latest federal data shows they now occupy about 2,000 hospital beds a week.

The study analyzed the health data of more than 379,000 adults in Ontario. It compared those hospitalized for COVID-19 between April, 2020, and October, 2021, with patients hospitalized with influenza before the outbreak began, and those hospitalized with sepsis, sepsis, both before and after the outbreak began.

COVID-19 was associated with a higher risk of venous thromboembolism, or blood clots, stroke, and depression or anxiety in the first 30 days after leaving the hospital, the study said. This risk appeared to disappear after 30 days, it said. Apart from this, it found that people hospitalized with COVID-19 were at no greater risk of developing other new cardiovascular, neurological, or psychiatric conditions than their counterparts hospitalized with the flu or sepsis.

Dr. Quinn said the rate of these conditions, however, is about two to five times higher among people who have survived hospitalization for serious infections than in the rest of the population. This is likely because these infections can trigger an overwhelming inflammatory response, which can lead to damage to various organs throughout the body, he said. He stressed the need to take action, including vaccination, to prevent serious illness from infections.

Nitin Mohan, an assistant professor in Western University’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology, who was not involved in the study, said the findings are useful for understanding the health care resources needed to prepare for the long-term effects of COVID. -19. He said he hopes to see more research.

“As we collect more data, over time, we learn more about this virus and how to prepare for it,” said Dr. Mohan.

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