A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s VISION Network has found that adults hospitalized due to COVID-19, whether vaccinated or not, face a higher risk for critical outcomes if they have at least four disease risk factors. The study, which analyzed data from 10 states, aimed to characterize the risk factors and outcomes of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 from June 2021 to March 2023.
The study revealed that older adults hospitalized for COVID-19 often have four or more disease risk factors, indicating that overall frailty may play a significant role in susceptibility to critical disease regardless of vaccination status. The majority of hospitalizations resulting in ICU admission or death were observed in patients, regardless of vaccination status, who had multiple disease risk factors across various organ systems.
Disease risk factors included conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kidney disease, obesity, dementia, and other underlying chronic conditions. The analysis of the data showed that vaccinated individuals aged 65 or older or with four or more underlying chronic medical conditions were 1.7 times more likely to experience critical outcomes, while unvaccinated individuals with the same characteristics were 2.3 times more likely.
The study also highlighted the changing epidemiology of COVID-19 from summer 2021 to spring 2023. The proportion of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 who experienced critical outcomes decreased over time, along with their hospital lengths of stay. However, the median age of patients increased from 60 to 75 years during the same period.
The findings of this study shed light on the characteristics and risk factors of seriously ill COVID-19 patients and illustrate how these factors changed over time. Understanding these factors can help healthcare professionals identify and prioritize at-risk individuals, ensuring they receive appropriate care and attention.
According to the study co-authors, it is crucial to recognize that while the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has decreased due to vaccination and advances in medical care, the virus is still a significant threat. Individuals with higher risk factors, especially older adults with underlying conditions, should stay informed about vaccinations and take precautions to prevent the spread of the disease, particularly around vulnerable individuals.
Overall, this study emphasizes the importance of considering disease risk factors when assessing the potential outcomes of hospitalized adults with COVID-19. By recognizing these factors, healthcare providers can implement appropriate strategies to mitigate the risks and improve patient outcomes.
– Shaun Grannis, M.D., M.S., study co-author, Regenstrief Institute vice president for data and analytics, and professor at Indiana University School of Medicine
– Brian Dixon, PhD, MPA, study co-author, interim director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics at Regenstrief Institute, and professor at Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health
– Study Reference: Griggs, E. P., et al. (2023) Clinical epidemiology and risk factors for critical outcomes among vaccinated and unvaccinated adults hospitalized with COVID-19 — VISION Network, 10 States, June 2021-March 2023. Clinical Infectious Diseases. doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciad505.