Greatest risk factors of mortality from COVID-19 identified in new findings
Hospitalized novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patients have a greater risk of dying if they are men or if they are obese or have complications from diabetes or hypertension, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) and published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
For the study, the researchers evaluated nearly 67,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in 613 hospitals across the country to determine the link between certain common patient characteristics and the risk of dying from COVID-19.
The analysis found that men had a 30 percent higher risk of dying compared to women of the same age and health status. Hospitalized patients who were obese, had hypertension, or had poorly managed diabetes had a higher risk of dying compared to those who did not have these conditions. Those aged 20 to 39 with these conditions had the biggest difference in their risk of dying compared to their healthier peers, according to the study.
Higher-risk patients may be given the drug remdesivir earlier in their hospitalization to help prevent severe complications or may be considered for closer monitoring or intensive care unit (ICU) admission. Healthcare providers may also want to consider these risks when determining which COVID-19 patients could benefit the most from the new monoclonal antibody therapies that, if given in the first few days of the infection, can reduce the risk of hospitalization, the researchers said.
Age remained the strongest predictor of mortality from COVID-19. Overall, nearly 19 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients died from their infection with the lowest mortality among pediatric patients, which was less than 2 percent. Mortality rates increased with each decade of life with the highest mortality, 34 percent, among those aged 80 and older, according to the study.
The researchers also found death rates among hospitalized patients have fallen dramatically since the early weeks of the pandemic in April. This is likely due to the availability of new treatments and more knowledge in the medical community on how to properly manage and care for hospitalized patients, the researchers said.
"Older patients still have the highest risk of dying, but younger patients with obesity or hypertension have the highest risk of dying relative to other patients their age without these conditions," said Katherine Goodman, JD, PhD, study lead author and a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UMSOM, in a statement. "Doctors may want to be paying extra attention to these younger patients when they're hospitalized to ensure they detect any complications quickly."