Hospital stay is longer in second wave

A COVID-19 patient being wheeled into a hospital in Bengaluru.  

The second wave of COVID-19 has seen a considerably large number of patients going through a long-drawn battle for survival in the hospital.

This time, either deaths have occurred over 10 days after the patients were hospitalised or the duration of hospitalisation has been a prolonged one, even more than four weeks for some.

In Bengaluru alone, there are nearly 250 patients who have been hospitalised for over 21 days after testing positive. Of these, while 154 have been in hospital for more than 30 days, 170 have been hospitalised for 21-30 days. Besides, 412 patients have spent 11-20 days in hospitals, according to BBMP’s COVID-19 bed status portal.

Many complications

Doctors said patients, who do not have an easy ride back to normalcy, are mainly those who have developed COVID pneumonia, COVID-related heart issues, brain stroke, and other ailments.

The State-run Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences has four patients in the COVID ICU for more than three weeks. Institute director C.N. Manjunath, who is also the nodal officer for labs and testing in the State’s COVID-19 task force, said these patients developed COVID-related cardiac issues along with lung involvement.

“Patients who have extensive lung involvement need high-flow oxygen for a longer time. During this second wave, only severe cases whose oxygen saturation dropped below 95 were admitted. Besides, several moderately-sick patients were shifted to bigger hospitals from smaller facilities after they became critical and hence, needed a longer hospital stay,” he said.

Prakash Doraiswamy, senior consultant-anaesthesia and critical care at Aster CMI Hospital, said the hospital currently has close to 15 patients who are long stay COVID-19 pneumonitis patients. “They have been with us for a duration ranging between six and eight weeks in the ICU. Besides, there are few more patients who have been staying for more than three weeks in the wards,” he said.

“During the second wave, many patients had severe inflammatory response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that caused extensive damage to their lungs, which is described by CT severity score. This resulted in hospitalisation for a significant number of days for some patients. They require prolonged oxygen therapy with or without the need to go on a ventilator and their recovery is further delayed if they have muscle weakness, nutritional issues or any secondary issues,” the doctor explained.

“We had a 60-year-old male patient who had to stay at our hospital for more than 80 days. He had a severe infection and his lungs were more than 95% damaged. While he was taking all necessary medications and measures, his condition turned critical and he was put on a ventilator after 25 days. He recovered after 80 days and was recently discharged,” Dr. Doraiswamy said.


Satyanarayana Mysore, HOD and consultant-pulmonology and lung transplant physician at Manipal Hospitals, said the mutations in the virus or the delta variant probably is responsible for long duration hospitalisation, increased mortality and morbidity.

“In hospitals, patients followed the ‘H’ type of lung pathology, wherein there will be decreased lung compliance. The hypoxia is quite pronounced and severe. Therefore, for the purpose of getting oxygen supplementation, improving the lung and for the sake of stability, several patients have been in hospital for a longer duration. In such patients oxygen supplementation - high flow oxygen and non-invasive ventilation - all had to be resorted to and this indicates the severity of the disease,” he added.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 2:26:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hospital-stay-is-longer-in-second-wave/article34773614.ece

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