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Greatest Risk Factors of Mortality from COVID-19

Healthcare providers may want to consider these risks when determining which COVID-19 patients could benefit the most from the new monoclonal antibody therapies.

In a recent study conducted by the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), investigators discovered that patients hospitalized due to an infection with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have a greater risk of dying if they are obese, have complications with diabetes or hypertension and are male.

The study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, analyzed nearly 67,000 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in 613 hospitals across the United States to try and better understand the possible link between certain common characteristics and the risk of dying from the virus.

The findings demonstrated that men who had a similar age and health status compared to women had a 30 percent higher risk of dying. Obese patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19, who also had hypertension or managed their diabetes poorly, had a higher risk of dying in comparison to those without these conditions. Patients in the age range of 20 to 39 with these conditions had the largest difference in their risk of dying when compared with healthier peers.

"Predicting which hospitalized COVID-19 patients have the highest risk of dying has taken on urgent importance as cases and hospitalizations in the U.S. continue to surge to record high numbers during the month of December," Anthony D. Harris, a corresponding author on the study said. "Knowledge is power in many ways, so I think understanding which hospitalized COVID-19 patients are at highest risk of mortality can help guide difficult treatment decisions."

One of the largest predictors of mortality during the study was age, as it was found that pediatric patients were among the lowest age groups to die from the virus. The rate of mortality increased every 10 years of age, with patients who were 80 and older having a 34% mortality rate.

The investigators also found the death rates among patients who are in the hospital for a COVID-19 infection have dramatically fallen due to the availability of new treatments and more knowledge of the virus throughout the medical field.

"As we head into what may be the darkest weeks of the pandemic, it is reassuring to know that our researchers are continuing to make important advances that could help guide the decision-making skills of healthcare workers in the field," E. Albert Reece, Distinguished Professor and Dean at the University of Maryland School of Medicine said. "I am incredibly proud of our faculty and what they have accomplished to help save the lives of COVID-19 patients as we eagerly await a vaccine."