Northwell Health researchers in New York recently completed a study of 5,700 hospitalized patients from March 1 to April 4, 2020, and the findings were grim. Of those severely ill COVID-19 patients that require a ventilator, about 88% of them died. These findings raise implications for how severely infected COVID-19 patients are cared for—implied are other health factors such as cardiovascular, obesity, and diabetes not to mention age. An underlying factor discussed much via the TrialSite News platform: the Social Determinants of Health.
Who conducted this study?
Northwell Health, the largest health system in New York (they have 12 hospitals across New York City, Long Island and Westchester County). The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health.
What are the key study metrics?
Of a total of 5,700 hospitalized patients (with COVID-19), 2,634 were discharged or had died by the end of the study. Of the 320 patients put on ventilators, nearly 9 out of 10 died.
Was age a factor?
Yes. If the patient was between 18 and 65, 76% of them died. However if they were over the age of 65, 97% died.
Are most patients still hospitalized?
Yes. Of the total patient count for the duration, 3,066 patients were still hospitalized when the study ended.
What are comorbidity risk factors for SARS-CoV-2?
Of those patients that were hospitalized, the most underlying conditions included hypertension (56.6%), obesity (41.7%) and diabetes (33.8%).
Do these horrendous numbers implicate the ventilators themselves?
No. Karina Davidson, Senior study author from Northwell Health, suggests that the ventilators were not the cause. Dr. Davidson notes, “patients who are put on ventilators typically have more severe disease” and are hence at greater risk.
The team is part of the Northwell COVID-19 Research Consortium.
Karina Davidson, PhD senior Vice President & Professor at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research at Northwell Health
Safiya Richardson, MD, MPH
Jamie S. Hirsch, MD, MA, MSB
James M. Crawford, MD, PhD
Thomas McGinn, MD, MPH
Call to Action: We don’t know enough about COVID-19 to make any conclusions but considerable evidence points to heightened danger for those infected that have other health conditions, such as cardiovascular/hypertension problems, obesity, etc. The social determinants of health are a considerable element to consider for healthcare policy moving forward.