COVID-19 research briefing 09/04/20 – comorbidities

Researchers from across BHP are collaborating to analyse and summarise the latest COVID-19 literature to help inform clinical colleagues. Today’s update focuses on comorbidities – much press coverage has focused on ‘underlying health conditions’ that can make coronavirus more severe or even fatal. But what are these conditions and what are the facts?


In summary:

Analysis of 10 studies had shown that, of the ~50,000 #coronavirus patients which the studies looked at:

      • 39% had more than one comorbidity (underlying health condition)
      • 22% had hypertension
      • 21% had cardiovascular disease
      • 18% had obesity
      • 16% had diabetes
      • 9% had cancer
      • 8% had cerebrovascular disease (e.g. dementia)
      • 7% had a respiratory disease
      • 4% had COPD
      • 4% had kidney disease
      • 1-2% were immunodeficient

One Chinese study of 1,590 coronavirus patients found that, of those who were treated in ICU or passed away as a result of the virus: 33% had one comorbidity (underlying health condition) and 40% had two comorbidities.

Growing heart Studies have shown that, in #coronavirus patients with cardiovascular disease, higher levels of troponin correlated with higher incidences of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and mortality.
Growing heart The same studies found Covid-19 patients with hypertension had a higher mortality risk

Mouse Evidence from mice suggestes that hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) can increase the rate at which coronavirus replicates. Patients with diabetes also had a higher mortality rate – 7.3% of this group passed away, compared with 2.3% of those in all studies looked at.

The most common risk factors for ICU admission in coronavirus patients are:
      • Age – 60+
      • Sex – male
      • Body type – obesity
      • Health conditions – diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease

Of coronavirus patients admitted to ICU:

      • 73% were male
      • 65% are white, 35% from BAME groups
      • Around 37% of admissions were people with obesity
Smoking symbol Smoking does not necessarily increase risk of catching COVID19, but smokers have poorer outcomes than non/ex smokers.