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Background: Patients surviving hospitalisation for COVID-19 are thought to be at high risk of cardiometabolic and pulmonary complications, but quantification of that risk is limited. We aimed to describe the overall burden of these complications in people after discharge from hospital with COVID-19.   Methods: Working on behalf of NHS England, we used linked primary care records, death certificate and hospital data from the OpenSAFELY platform. We constructed three cohorts: patients discharged following hospitalisation with COVID-19, patients discharged following pre-pandemic hospitalisation with pneumonia, and a frequency-matched cohort from the general population in 2019. We studied seven outcomes: deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), ischaemic stroke, myocardial infarction (MI), heart failure, AKI and new type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) diagnosis. Absolute rates were measured in each cohort and Fine and Gray models were used to estimate age/sex adjusted subdistribution hazard ratios comparing outcome risk between discharged COVID-19 patients and the two comparator cohorts. Results: Amongst the population of 77,347 patients discharged following hospitalisation with COVID-19, rates for the majority of outcomes peaked in the first month post-discharge, then declined over the following four months. Patients in the COVID-19 population had markedly higher risk of all outcomes compared to matched controls from the 2019 general population. Across the whole study period, the risk of outcomes was more similar when comparing patients discharged with COVID-19 to those discharged with pneumonia in 2019, although COVID-19 patients had higher risk of T2DM (15.2 versus 37.2 [rate per 1,000-person-years for COVID-19 versus pneumonia, respectively]; SHR, 1.46 [95% CI: 1.31 - 1.63]).  Conclusions: Risk of cardiometabolic and pulmonary adverse outcomes is markedly raised following discharge from hospitalisation with COVID-19 compared to the general population. However, excess risks were similar to those seen following discharge post-pneumonia. Overall, this suggests a large additional burden on healthcare resources.

Original publication




Journal article


Wellcome Open Res

Publication Date





Cardiometabolic, Covid-19, Electronic Health Records, Pneumonia, Post-hospitalisation