Clinical Characteristics Associated With Return Visits to the Emergency Department After COVID-19 Diagnosis

Iltifat Husain, MD; James O'Neill, MD; Rachel Mudge, MD; Alicia Bishop, MD; K. Alexander Soltany, BA; Jesse Heinen, BS; Chase Countryman, MD; Dillon Casey, MD; David Cline, MD


Western J Emerg Med. 2021;22(6):1257-1261. 

In This Article


We conducted a retrospective chart review of all ED-discharged patients from the Wake Forest Baptist Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health Davie Medical Center who had an ED-positive laboratory SARS-CoV-2 real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) test resulting from a nasopharyngeal swab between April 25–August 9, 2020. We compared the clinical characteristics of patients who were discharged and had return visits within 30 days to those patients who did not return to the ED within 30 days. This study was approved by the Biomedical Institutional Review Board of Wake Forest School of Medicine.

Of patients discharged from the ED with positive rRT-PCR testing, we included patients aged 18 and older. Patients' health records underwent individual chart review to determine whether they had a return visit to the ED within 30 days for COVID-19-related symptoms. Patients who did not have a return visit to the ED within 30 days for COVID-19 related symptoms comprised our control cohort of no return ED visits. We analyzed the data using SAS 9.4 (SAS Institute, Inc., Cary, NC). Chi-square test was used to compare frequencies of categorical variables between discharged ED patients with a positive ED rRT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 who returned after their index ED visit and those patients who did not return. We used Student's t-tests or Wilcoxon signed-rank tests to compare continuous variables between groups. Logistic regression was used for multivariate analysis of those variables that were independently associated with return to the ED.