COVID-19 tied to worse outcomes for trauma patients, even if asymptomatic

Even when asymptomatic, trauma patients with COVID-19 may be at greater risk of complications compared to those without the infection, according to new research from LAC+USC Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Researchers analyzed the outcomes of 185 asymptomatic COVID-19-positive patients and 554 COVID-19-negative patients admitted to the medical center for trauma care between March 2020 and October 2021. 

Trauma patients who tested positive for the virus but showed no symptoms had significantly higher rates of cardiac events, longer hospital stays and higher hospital charges, researchers found. For example, the rate of myocardial infarction and cardiac arrest was 3.2 percent among patients with COVID-19 compared to 0.9 percent for the control group. 

Researchers said the study reinforces the need to screen all trauma patients for COVID-19. 

“Simply put, you don't have to have symptoms for the virus to potentially affect your body," lead author Marco Sozzi, MD, a research fellow at LAC+USC Medical Center, said in a news release. "Further studies will need to look at further indicators that may put patients at risk."

Study authors presented the findings at the American College of Surgeons' 2022 Clinical Congress held Oct. 16-20 in San Diego, Calif.

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