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Discharge Clinical Characteristics and Post-Discharge Events in Patients with Severe COVID-19: A Descriptive Case Series.

Saab FG, Chiang JN, Brook R, Adamson PC, Fulcher JA, Halperin E, Manuel V, Goodman-Meza D. Discharge Clinical Characteristics and Post-Discharge Events in Patients with Severe COVID-19: A Descriptive Case Series. Journal of general internal medicine. 2021 Apr 1; 36(4):1017-1022.

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BACKGROUND: As the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continues, little guidance is available on clinical indicators for safely discharging patients with severe COVID-19. OBJECTIVE: To describe the clinical courses of adult patients admitted for COVID-19 and identify associations between inpatient clinical features and post-discharge need for acute care. DESIGN: Retrospective chart reviews were performed to record laboratory values, temperature, and oxygen requirements of 99 adult inpatients with COVID-19. Those variables were used to predict emergency department (ED) visit or readmission within 30 days post-discharge. PATIENTS (OR PARTICIPANTS): Age 18 years, first hospitalization for COVID-19, admitted between March 1 and May 2, 2020, at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Medical Center, managed by an inpatient medicine service. MAIN MEASURES: Ferritin, C-reactive protein, lactate dehydrogenase, D-dimer, procalcitonin, white blood cell count, absolute lymphocyte count, temperature, and oxygen requirement were noted. KEY RESULTS: Of 99 patients, five required ED admission within 30 days, and another five required readmission. Fever within 24 h of discharge, oxygen requirement, and laboratory abnormalities were not associated with need for ED visit or readmission within 30 days of discharge after admission for COVID-19. CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that neither persistent fever, oxygen requirement, nor laboratory marker derangement was associated with need for acute care in the 30-day period after discharge for severe COVID-19. These findings suggest that physicians need not await the normalization of laboratory markers, resolution of fever, or discontinuation of oxygen prior to discharging a stable or improving patient with COVID-19.

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