BACKGROUND: Many interventional in-patient COVID-19 trials assess primary outcomes through day 28 post-randomization. Since a proportion of patients experience protracted disease or relapse, such follow-up period may not fully capture the course of the disease, even when randomization occurs a few days after hospitalization.

METHODS: Among adults hospitalized with COVID-19 in Eastern Denmark from March 18, 2020 - January 12, 2021 we assessed: all-cause mortality, recovery and sustained recovery 90 days after admission, and readmission and all-cause mortality 90 days after discharge. Recovery was defined as hospital discharge and sustained recovery as recovery and alive without readmissions for 14 consecutive days.

RESULTS: Among 3,386 patients included in the study 2,796 (82.6%) reached recovery and 2,600 (77.0%) achieved sustained recovery. Of those discharged from hospital, 556 (19.9%) were readmitted, and 289 (10.3%) died. Overall, the median time to recovery was 6 days (Interquartile range (IQR), 3-10), and 19 days (IQR, 11-33) among patients in intensive care in the first two days of admission.

CONCLUSIONS: Post-discharge readmission and mortality rates were substantial. Therefore, sustained recovery should be favored to recovery outcomes in clinical COVID-19 trials. A 28-day follow-up period may be too short the critically ill.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Aug 2022


  • COVID-19
  • sustained recovery
  • readmission
  • postdischarge mortality
  • SARS-CoV-2


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