Oxford publishes new study on post-hospital COVID patient health

A new study on longer-term health impacts for COVID-19 patients discharged from hospital has been published.

The study, C-MORE, claims to be the first peer-reviewed paper published on ‘the impact of COVID-19 on multiple organs using imaging’.

Within it, MRI scans showed ‘abnormalities’ in:

  • 60% of participants’ lungs
  • 26% of patients’ hearts
  • 10% of participants’ livers
  • 29% of patients’ kidneys.

Scientists from the University of Oxford found that after being discharged from hospital, a ‘significant portion’ of patients continued to have symptoms for weeks and months.

The study also confirmed that many patients reported breathlessness, fatigue, depression and ‘limited exercise capacity’ for a number of weeks after leaving secondary care.

While two to three months after ‘onset’, scientists discovered that 64% of patients had continued breathlessness, with 55% reporting fatigue.

Some patients in the study also displayed changes in neural pathways, impaired cognitive performance, less tolerance of exercise and an increase in symptoms of depression.

According to Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH), it was also noted that there was a ‘possible link between chronic inflammation and ongoing organ damage’.

Dr Betty Raman, co-lead of the C-MORE study, said: “This is the first holistic study of post-hospital discharged COVID-19 patients to comprehensively assess the medium-term effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection on multiple vital organs, exercise tolerance, mental, cognitive and physical health.

“We have shown that a significant proportion of patients complained of symptoms of breathlessness and fatigue two to three months after the onset of the illness and that changes in the brain, lungs, heart, liver and kidneys could be seen on MRI in a proportion of patients.”

The study was made up of 58 participants that had been admitted to OUH with moderate to severe COVID-19 between Match and May 2020, plus 30 uninfected people from the community.

Find out more about the study through OUH or the Lancet’s EClinicalMedicine.