Risk factors for severe outcomes for COVID-19 patients hospitalised in Switzerland during the first pandemic wave, February to August 2020: prospective observational cohort study

Filipe Maximiano Sousa, Maroussia Roelens, Brian Fricker, Amaury Thiabaud, Anne Iten, Alexia Cusini, Domenica Flury, Michael Buettcher, Franziska Zukol, Carlo Balmelli, Petra Zimmermann, Nicolas Troillet, Danielle Vuichard-Gysin, Peter W. Schreiber, Sara Bernhard-Stirnemann, Sarah Tschudin-Sutter, Yvonne Nussbaumer-Ochsner, Rami Sommerstein, Roman Gaudenz, Jonas MarschallLaurence Senn, Céline Gardiol, Olivia Keiser, Gertraud Schüpbach, Monica Wymann, Beatriz Vidondo, Study Group Ch-Sur Study Group

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BACKGROUND: As clinical signs of COVID-19 differ widely among individuals, from mild to severe, the definition of risk groups has important consequences for recommendations to the public, control measures and patient management, and needs to be reviewed regularly. AIM: The aim of this study was to explore risk factors for in-hospital mortality and intensive care unit (ICU) admission for hospitalised COVID-19 patients during the first epidemic wave in Switzerland, as an example of a country that coped well during the first wave of the pandemic. METHODS: This study included all (n = 3590) adult polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-confirmed hospitalised patients in 17 hospitals from the hospital-based surveillance of COVID-19 (CH-Sur) by 1 September 2020. We calculated univariable and multivariable (adjusted) (1) proportional hazards (Fine and Gray) survival regression models and (2) logistic regression models for in-hospital mortality and admission to ICU, to evaluate the most common comorbidities as potential risk factors. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: We found that old age was the strongest factor for in-hospital mortality after having adjusted for gender and the considered comorbidities (hazard ratio [HR] 2.46, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.33−2.59 and HR 5.6 95% CI 5.23−6 for ages 65 and 80 years, respectively). In addition, male gender remained an important risk factor in the multivariable models (HR 1.47, 95% CI 1.41−1.53). Of all comorbidities, renal disease, oncological pathologies, chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease (but not hypertension) and dementia were also risk factors for in-hospital mortality. With respect to ICU admission risk, the pattern was different, as patients with higher chances of survival might have been admitted more often to ICU. Male gender (OR 1.91, 95% CI 1.58−2.31), hypertension (OR  1.3, 95% CI 1.07−1.59) and age 55–79 years (OR 1.15, 95% CI 1.06−1.26) are risk factors for ICU admission. Patients aged 80+ years, as well as patients with dementia or with liver disease were admitted less often to ICU. CONCLUSION: We conclude that increasing age is the most important risk factor for in-hospital mortality of hospitalised COVID-19 patients in Switzerland, along with male gender and followed by the presence of comorbidities such as renal diseases, chronic respiratory or cardiovascular disease, oncological malignancies and dementia. Male gender, hypertension and age between 55 and 79 years are, however, risk factors for ICU admission. Mortality and ICU admission need to be considered as separate outcomes when investigating risk factors for pandemic control measures and for hospital resources planning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)w20547
JournalSwiss Medical Weekly
StatePublished - Jul 19 2021


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