Impact of SARS-CoV-2 Infection on the Association Between Laboratory Tests and Severe Outcomes Among Hospitalized Children

for the Pediatric Emergency Research Network-COVID-19 Study Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. To assist clinicians with identifying children at risk of severe outcomes, we assessed the association between laboratory findings and severe outcomes among severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)–infected children and determined if SARS-CoV-2 test result status modified the associations. Methods. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of participants tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection in 41 pediatric emergency departments in 10 countries. Participants were hospitalized, had laboratory testing performed, and completed 14-day follow-up. The primary objective was to assess the associations between laboratory findings and severe outcomes. The secondary objective was to determine if the SARS-CoV-2 test result modified the associations. Results. We included 1817 participants; 522 (28.7%) SARS-CoV-2 test-positive and 1295 (71.3%) test-negative. Seventy-five (14.4%) test-positive and 174 (13.4%) test-negative children experienced severe outcomes. In regression analysis, we found that among SARS-CoV-2-positive children, procalcitonin ≥0.5 ng/mL (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 9.14; 95% CI, 2.90–28.80), ferritin >500 ng/mL (aOR, 7.95; 95% CI, 1.89–33.44), D-dimer ≥1500 ng/mL (aOR, 4.57; 95% CI, 1.12–18.68), serum glucose ≥120 mg/dL (aOR, 2.01; 95% CI, 1.06–3.81), lymphocyte count <1.0 × 109/L (aOR, 3.21; 95% CI, 1.34–7.69), and platelet count <150 × 109/L (aOR, 2.82; 95% CI, 1.31–6.07) were associated with severe outcomes. Evaluation of the interaction term revealed that a positive SARS-CoV-2 result increased the associations with severe outcomes for elevated procalcitonin, C-reactive protein (CRP), D-dimer, and for reduced lymphocyte and platelet counts. Conclusions. Specific laboratory parameters are associated with severe outcomes in SARS-CoV-2-infected children, and elevated serum procalcitonin, CRP, and D-dimer and low absolute lymphocyte and platelet counts were more strongly associated with severe outcomes in children testing positive compared with those testing negative.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberofad485
JournalOpen Forum Infectious Diseases
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023


  • C-reactive protein
  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • child
  • lymphopenia
  • procalcitonin


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