Objective: This study aimed to investigate the clinical characteristics of COVID-19 patients with recurrent SARS-CoV-2 positivity after hospital discharge.
Methods: This retrospective study included COVID-19 patients who were readmitted for recurrence of positive SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to assess the risk factors associated to the duration of recurrent RNA positivity.
Results: Among the 287 discharged COVID-19 patients, 33 (11.5%) patients with recurrent PCR positivity were included. Among these patients, 21 (63.7%) patients were female, their mean age was 48.7 (±19.7) years old. 22 (66.7%) patients were asymptomatic. The following clinical features were presented in other patients: cough, fatigue, sore throat, fever and expectoration. The chest CT findings revealed that 8 (24.2%) patients were characterized by deterioration compared to the previous results. The median duration of recurrent RNA positivity was 9.0 days (IQR, 6.0, 15.0). We found that increased serum SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG antibody titer, elevated serum creatinine level, and female gender were the risk factors for the prolonged duration of recurrent RNA positivity.
Conclusion: SARS-CoV-2 turned positive in a minority of discharged patients with COVID-19. Most patients experienced mild clinical course. Increased IgG antibody titer, creatinine and female gender were correlated to the prolonged RNA clearance time.