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Risk factors for intensive care admission and death amongst children and young people admitted to hospital with COVID-19 and PIMS-TS in England during the first pandemic year

By Joseph Ward, Rachel Harwood, Clare Smith, Simon E Kenny, Matthew Clark, Peter J Davis, Elizabeth S Draper, Dougal Hargreaves, Shamez Ladhani, Michael Linney, Karen Luyt, Elizabeth Whittaker, Lorna K Fraser, Russell M Viner

Posted 05 Jul 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.07.01.21259785

Identifying which children and young people (CYP) are vulnerable to severe disease following SARS-CoV-2 is important to guide shielding and vaccination policy. Methods We used data for all inpatient hospital admissions in England in CYP aged 0-17 between March 1st 2015 to Feb 28th 2021, linked to paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission, and SARS-CoV-2 PCR testing, and deaths. We calculated odds ratios and predicted probability of PICU admission using generalized estimation equations, and compared these between COVID-19, PIMS-TS, other admissions in 2020/21, all admissions in 2019/20, and admissions due to influenza in 20219/20. Findings There were 6,338 COVID-19 hospitalisations, 259 PICU admissions and 8 deaths as well as 712 PIMS-TS hospitalisations, 312 PICU admissions and <5 deaths. Odds of PICU admission were increased amongst neonates and decreased amongst 15-17 compared with 1-4 year olds with COVID-19, increased in older CYP and females with PIMS-TS, and increased for Black compared with White ethnicity for both conditions. Odds of PICU admission with COVID-19 were increased for CYP with any comorbidity and were highest for CYP with multiple medical problems. Comorbidities associated with PICU admission among COVID-19 patients were similar to overall PICU admissions in 2019/20 and to influenza PICU admissions in 2019/20, but with higher odds. Interpreting associations with comorbidities within PIMS-TS was complex due to the multisystem nature of the disease. Interpretation CYP were at very low risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19 or PIMS-TS. Patterns of vulnerability for severe COVID-19 appear to magnify background risk factors for serious illness in CYP.

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