Steroids May Reduce Long COVID Risks by 51%
Researchers announced today that among patients hospitalized for COVID-19 who seemingly recovered, severe systemic inflammation might become a risk factor for death within one year.
This finding may seem paradoxical, as inflammation is a natural part of the body’s immune response, which has evolved to fight infection, wrote these researchers.
But in some illnesses, including Covid-19, this response may overshoot, causing further harm.
This study found COVID-19 patients with the highest C-reactive protein (CRP) concentration measured during their hospital stay had a 61% greater hazard – corrected for other risk factors – of dying of any cause within one year of discharge from the hospital than patients with the lowest CRP concentration.
Notably, the study authors showed that the elevated hazard of death from any cause associated with severe inflammation was lowered by 51% if the patient was prescribed anti-inflammatory steroids after hospitalization.
'When someone has a cold or even pneumonia, we usually think of the illness being over once the patient recovers.'
"Our study is the first to examine the relationship between inflammation during hospitalization for Covid-19 and mortality after the patient has ‘recovered," stated first author Prof Arch G Mainous III, vice chair for research in the Department of Community Health and Family Medicine at the University of Florida Gainesville, in a press release issued on May 12, 2022.
“Here we show that the stronger the inflammation during the initial hospitalization, the greater the patient's probability of dying within 12 months after seemingly ‘recovering’ from Covid-19.”
These results mean that the severity of inflammation during hospitalization for Covid-19 can predict the risk of subsequent serious health problems, including death, from ‘long Covid’.
They also imply that current recommendations for best practice may need to be changed to include a more widespread prescription of orally taken steroids to Covid-19 patients upon their discharge.
The study results are published in Frontiers in Medicine.
Note: The press release and study were edited for clarity and manually curated for mobile readership.