Kol: Patients with other ailments find they are Covid +ve
Times of India | 14 January 2022
KOLKATA: The majority of patients admitted across Covid ICUs of Kolkata’s private hospitals are those who sought admission for comorbidities but tested positive on arrival.
They include cardiac, renal, diabetes and neurological patients who had no Covid symptoms till they were tested at the hospital. Experts say this is a reversal of the trend that prevailed during the first two waves when Covid had aggravated comorbidities, forcing hospitalization.
A substantial number of elderly and comorbid patients are getting admitted with non-Covid ailments and testing positive without Covid symptoms, pointed out RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS) intensivist Sauren Panja. “Most of the 43 patients at our ITU are those with non-Covid infections or diseases like cardiac, kidney and respiratory that have nothing to do with Covid. They have tested positive on arrival and had to be moved to the Covid ITU. Their comorbidities, however, have not yet worsened their condition,” said Panja.
At CMRI Hospital, too, majority of Covid ICU patients tested positive at the time of admission. “They were admitted with ailments that may or may not have been triggered by Covid. But their Covid symptoms are negligible, unlike the previous occasions when most ICU patients had severe symptoms that aggravated the comorbidities,” said CMRI director of pulmonology Raja Dhar.
At Belle Vue Clinic, too, most of the 20 ICU patients had been admitted for non-Covid treatment but tested positive. “They are the majority but their Covid symptoms remain mild and their non-Covid ailments are more serious,” said CEO P Tondon.
Delay in hospitalization, too, is often triggering a sudden deterioration in condition of Covid patients, especially the elderly and comorbid, leading to ICU admission and a poor recovery rate, says a section of experts and doctors. Initial mild symptoms are turning out to be misleading for these patients who have been suffering a sharp decline in their vital parameters, including a drop in oxygen saturation level on the fourth or fifth day from testing positive. They now form the majority of ICU patients admitted across private hospitals and the casualty rate, too, has been highest among this group, say hospitals.
It could be risky to assume that all Covid cases are now mild, said Peerless Hospital microbiologist Bhaskar Narayan Chowdhury. “First, we still might be having a few Delta cases that would be more virulent than Omicron. The elderly with comorbidities will be vulnerable if they get infected with Delta and the initial symptoms could still be mild. Even in case of Omicron, those with cardiac disease, diabetes, kidney or lung ailments are prone to a sudden deterioration after a few days which has often been happening, They are being brought to hospital in a very serious state,” said Chowdhury.
RTIICS has 48 beds in critical care with an occupancy of 43. “This number has been a constant for last 3-4 days. We will constantly monitor the situation and if it rises in the next two days, then we would plan to increase the critical care beds next week,” said RTIICS zonal head R Venkatesh.