Many Norwegian COVID-19 patients experience fatigue months after hospitalization

Corona patientPhoto: Tore Meek / NTB
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Many COVID-19 patients in Norway are more tired several months after admission. Intensive care patients are also on ventilators much longer than normal.

A total of 362 patients admitted to Norwegian hospitals with COVID-19 have responded to a questionnaire after admission. 

The data, which has been collected by the Norwegian Intensive Care and Pandemic Register (Norsk intensiv- og pandemiregister), has not yet been corrected for gender or age.

A total of 147 previous patients answered that they are more tired now than they were before the disease, while 46 responded that they are much more tired.

“It is a finding that is important to investigate further. One of our most important tasks in the future is to deliver results to the research communities,” Eirik Buanes, who is head of the register, said at a digital webinar on Tuesday.

Striking differences in the intensive care unit

By the beginning of October, 247 corona patients had been admitted to intensive care, with an average age of 62 years. 

A total of 47 of the intensive care patients died, which is 19%.

The median time for COVID patients on respirators was twelve days, i.e., half of them were in the respirator for less than twelve days, while half were longer than twelve days.

Compared with intensive care patients in general, the median respirator time is only two days. 

The mortality rate of ordinary intensive care patients is 10%, while the mortality rate for COVID-19 patients is twice as high – 20%.

“The contrast in patients with COVID-19 in intensive care is striking. They stay on the respirator much longer than normal intensive care patients, and the mortality rate is slightly higher,” Buanes said.

Expanded in a hurry

The Norwegian Intensive Care Register has existed since 1998. 

In March, the Ministry of Health commissioned the register to expand the register by including COVID-19 patients.

“Short deadlines were given, and we did not have things ready,” Buanes, who on Tuesday presented a number of different figures and overviews that the register has collected since March, noted.

Until last week, a total of 1,127 COVID-19 patients had been discharged from Norwegian hospitals since the pandemic began. 

The inpatients were hospitalized for an average of ten days, and the average age of the patients was 59 years. 

More than half had one or more risk factors.

A total of 81 inpatients have died, which is a proportion of 7.2% of the inpatients.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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