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Study identifies greatest Covid mortality risks in hospital

The research by University of Maryland School of Medicine is the largest study on Covid-19 mortality rates during hospitalisation to date

|Jan 6|magazine4 min read

A new study has identified which Covid-19 patients face the greatest risk of mortality during hospitalisation. 

Researchers at University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) evaluated nearly 67,000 hospitalised Covid-19 patients in 613 hospitals across the US, to determine the link between certain common patient characteristics and the risk of dying. The research is the largest study of its kind to date. 

Hospitalised patients with Covid have a 30 per cent greater risk of dying if they are men, compared to women of the same age and health status, researchers found. Additionally hospitalised patients who are obese, have hypertension or poorly managed diabetes have a higher risk of dying compared to those who do not have these conditions. 

Age remains the strongest predictor of mortality. Mortality rates increase with each decade of life, with the highest mortality (34 per cent) among those aged 80 and older. 

Anthony D. Harris, MD, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at UMSOM and one of the study's authors commented: “Predicting which hospitalised Covid-19 patients have the highest risk of dying has taken on urgent importance as cases and hospitalisations in the US continue to surge to record high numbers.

“Knowledge is power in many ways, so I think understanding which hospitalised patients are at highest risk of mortality can help guide difficult treatment decisions.” 

An example of this is administrating the drug remdesivir earlier in the hospitalisation of higher-risk patients. Healthcare providers may also want to consider 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 hospitalisation.

The researchers also found some good news in their study findings. Death rates among hospitalised 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 patients.

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