Certain pre-existing conditions may triple COVID-19 death risk: Study

(File/Representational image)

New Delhi (NVI): The certain number of pre-existing health conditions may double or triple the risk of death due to COVID-19, according to a new study.

The study by ‘Penn State College Of Medicine’ researchers on COVID-19 patients showed that cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease, stroke, and cancer can increase a patient’s risk of dying from the virus.

In a statement, the researchers said that their findings may help public health officials improve patient care and develop interventions that can target these high-risk populations, the World Economic Forum (WEF) reported.

The researchers also found that cardiovascular disease may double a patient’s risk of dying from COVID-19. They discovered that other pre-existing conditions may increase a COVID-19 patient’s risk of death by one-and-a-half to three times. However, the results were recently published in peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE.

“This study suggests that these chronic conditions are not just common in patients with COVID-19, but their presence is a warning sign to a higher risk of death,” Paddy Ssentongo, research assistant professor in Penn State’s said in a release.

“There is a high prevalence of cardiovascular disease and hypertension around the world and in particular, the US. With the persistence of COVID-19 in the US, this connection becomes crucially important,” Ssentongo added.

Moreover, to determine which chronic conditions put hospitalized patients at risk of dying from COVID-19, they examined 11 co-existing conditions that pose a risk of severe disease and death among COVID-19 patients.

Among them were diabetes, cancer, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, stroke, congestive heart failure, HIV/AIDS and chronic liver disease.

Researchers analyzed data from over 65,000 patients from 25 global studies involving patients from Asia, Europe, North America and Africa. On average, patients in the chosen studies were 61-years-old, the study said.

The team of researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies published from December 2019 through early July this year. They found that certain pre-existing health conditions affected survival rates more than others.

The study also shows that patients with diabetes and cancer are 1.5 times more likely to die, patients with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and congestive heart failure are twice as likely to die and patients with chronic kidney disease are three times more likely to die.

“Although the health care community has circulated anecdotal information about the impact of these risk factors in COVID-19 mortality, our systematic review and meta-analysis is the most comprehensive to date that attempts to quantify the risk,” said senior author of study Vernon Chinchilli.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues through 2020 and likely into 2021, we expect that other researchers will build on our work,” he added.

More research is needed to fully understand health risks and implications, particularly in understanding the effects of race and ethnicity on COVID-19 survival rates. Still, these findings can help inform global prevention and treatment strategies, according to Ssentongo.

-RJV