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Background In this study we phenotyped individuals hospitalised with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in depth, summarising entire medical histories, including medications, as captured in routinely collected data drawn from databases across three continents. We then compared individuals hospitalised with COVID-19 to those previously hospitalised with influenza. Methods We report demographics, previously recorded conditions and medication use of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in the US (Columbia University Irving Medical Center [CUIMC], Premier Healthcare Database [PHD], UCHealth System Health Data Compass Database [UC HDC], and the Department of Veterans Affairs [VA OMOP]), in South Korea (Health Insurance Review & Assessment [HIRA]), and Spain (The Information System for Research in Primary Care [SIDIAP] and HM Hospitales [HM]). These patients were then compared with patients hospitalised with influenza in 2014-19. Results 34,128 (US: 8,362, South Korea: 7,341, Spain: 18,425) individuals hospitalised with COVID-19 were included. Between 4,811 (HM) and 11,643 (CUIMC) unique aggregate characteristics were extracted per patient, with all summarised in an accompanying interactive website (http://evidence.ohdsi.org/Covid19CharacterizationHospitalization/). Patients were majority male in the US (CUIMC: 52%, PHD: 52%, UC HDC: 54%, VA OMOP: 94%,) and Spain (SIDIAP: 54%, HM: 60%), but were predominantly female in South Korea (HIRA: 60%). Age profiles varied across data sources. Prevalence of asthma ranged from 4% to 15%, diabetes from 13% to 43%, and hypertensive disorder from 24% to 70% across data sources. Between 14% and 33% were taking drugs acting on the renin-angiotensin system in the 30 days prior to hospitalisation. Compared to 81,596 individuals hospitalised with influenza in 2014-19, patients admitted with COVID-19 were more typically male, younger, and healthier, with fewer comorbidities and lower medication use. Conclusions We provide a detailed characterisation of patients hospitalised with COVID-19. Protecting groups known to be vulnerable to influenza is a useful starting point to minimize the number of hospital admissions needed for COVID-19. However, such strategies will also likely need to be broadened so as to reflect the particular characteristics of individuals hospitalised with COVID-19.

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