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Risk for Death, Complications Higher With COVID-19 Versus Flu

Risk for mechanical ventilation use, admission to intensive care, longer length of stay increased for COVID-19 versus flu

hospital patient in bed

MONDAY, Dec. 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- COVID-19 is associated with an increased risk for extrapulmonary organ dysfunction, death, and increased health care resource use compared with seasonal influenza, according to a study published online Dec. 10 in The BMJ.

Yan Xie, M.P.H., from the VA Saint Louis Health Care System, and colleagues conducted a cohort study to compare differences in the risk for clinical manifestations and death among 3,641 patients admitted with COVID-19 (Feb. 1 to June 17, 2020) and 12,676 with seasonal influenza between 2017 and 2019.

Compared with seasonal influenza, the researchers found that COVID-19 was associated with an elevated risk for acute kidney injury, incident renal replacement therapy, incident insulin use, severe septic shock, vasopressor use, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, stroke, acute myocarditis, arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death, elevated troponin, elevated aspartate aminotransferase, elevated alanine aminotransferase, and rhabdomyolysis. COVID-19 was also associated with an increased risk for death, mechanical ventilator use, and admission to intensive care compared with seasonal influenza and with three additional days of hospital stay. The most pronounced differences in rates of death per 100 patients between COVID-19 and seasonal influenza were among those older than 75 years with chronic kidney disease or dementia and for those with Black race and obesity, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.

"A deeper understanding of the health risks of COVID-19 helps to anticipate demand for health care services and to project mortality with greater accuracy," a coauthor said in a statement.

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