A systematic review and meta-analysis of discharged COVID-19 patients retesting positive for RT-PCR Academic Article uri icon

  • Overview
  • Identity
  • Additional Document Info
  • View All


  • Background: With the increased number of patients discharged after having COVID-19, more and more studies have reported cases whose retesting was positive (RP) during the convalescent period, which brings a new public health challenge to the world. Methods: We searched PubMed, Web of Science, The Cochrane Library, CNKI, WanFang and VIP from December 1, 2019 to December 31, 2020. The included studies were assessed using JBI critical appraisal tools and Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. The RP rate of discharge patients was analyzed by a meta-analysis. We adhered to PRISMA reporting guideline. Findings: We have included 117 studies with 2669 RP participants after discharge. The methodological quality of 66 case reports were low to high, 42 case series and 3 cohort study were moderate to high, 3 case-control studies were moderate and 3 cross-sectional studies were low to moderate. The clinical manifestations of most RP patients were mild or asymptomatic, and CT imaging and laboratory examinations were usually normal. The existing risk factors suggest that more attention should be paid to sever patients, elderly patients, and patients with co-morbidities. The summary RP rate was 12·2% (95% CI 10·6-13·7) with high heterogeneity (I2  = 85%). Interpretation: To date, the causes and risk factors of RP result in discharged patients are not fully understood. High-quality etiological and clinical studies are needed to investigate these issues to further help us to make strategies to control and prevent its occurrence.


  • Ren, Xiangying
  • Ren, Xiangge
  • Lou, Jiaao
  • Wang, Yongbo
  • Huang, Qiao
  • Shi, Yuexian
  • Deng, Yuqing
  • Li, Xiaoyan
  • Lu, Liye
  • Yan, Siyu
  • Wang, Yunyun
  • Luo, Lisha
  • Zeng, Xiantao
  • Yao, Xiaomei
  • Jin, Yinghui

publication date

  • April 2021