Infectious Disease

EHR knowledge reveals that kidney illness is the highest danger issue for COVID-19 hospital stays

December 07, 2020

1 min read

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By analyzing the data in electronic patient records, Geisinger researchers found that patients with kidney disease are more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than patients with other pre-existing diseases.

“Previous studies have identified a variety of health conditions associated with an increased risk of COVID-related hospitalization, including diabetes, heart failure, high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease,” said Dr. Alex Chang, a nephrologist at Geisinger and co-director of Geisinger’s Kidney Health Research Institute, said in a related press release. “What matters here is the level of risk associated with kidney disease.”

Patients with end-stage kidney disease were 11 times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than patients without kidney disease.

Patients with end-stage kidney disease were 11 times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than patients without kidney disease.

For the study, the researchers included 12,971 people who were tested for SARS-CoV-2 using prepandemic EHR data (1,604 people were SARS-CoV-2 positive; 354 ​​people had to be hospitalized). They identified 21 clinical phenotypes in five disease categories (six of the phenotypes were kidney related).

The results showed that patients with end-stage kidney disease were 11 times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than patients without kidney disease (OR = 11.07). Other kidney-related disorders were also associated with high risk of hospitalization, with stage 4 CRF resulting in an OP of 2.90, acute kidney failure resulting in an OP of 3.26, and a kidney transplant resulting in an OR of 14.98. For comparison, heart failure resulted in an OP of 3.8, chronic airway obstruction an OP of 2.54 and type 2 diabetes an OR of 1.80.

Study co-researcher Tooraj Mirshahi, PhD, explained the study design in the press release.

“Our team used a novel approach made possible by our extensive electronic health records, unique demographics and integrated healthcare system,” he said. “We were able to do this study even though the number of COVID-19 cases was much lower compared to large metropolitan hospitals.”

According to Chang, these results “underscore the need to prevent COVID-19-related illness in patients with kidney disease and other high-risk conditions”.

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