Coronavirus disease 2019 outcomes among patients with rheumatic diseases 6 months into the pandemic

Naomi Serling-Boyd, Kristin M D'Silva, Tiffany Yt Hsu, Rachel Wallwork, Xiaoqing Fu, Ellen M Gravallese, April M Jorge, Yuqing Zhang, Hyon Choi, Jeffrey A Sparks, Zachary S Wallace
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2020 November 30

OBJECTIVE: In earlier studies, patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease (RMD) who got infected with COVID-19 had a higher risk of mechanical ventilation than comparators. We sought to determine COVID-19 outcomes among patients with RMD 6 months into the pandemic.

METHODS: We conducted a cohort study at Mass General Brigham in Boston, Massachusetts, of patients with RMD matched to up to five comparators by age, sex and COVID-19 diagnosis date (between 30 January 2020 and 16 July 2020) and followed until last encounter or 18 August 2020. COVID-19 outcomes were compared using Cox regression. Risk of mechanical ventilation was compared in an early versus a recent cohort of patients with RMD.

RESULTS: We identified 143 patients with RMD and with COVID-19 (mean age 60 years; 76% female individuals) and 688 comparators (mean age 59 years; 76% female individuals). There were no significantly higher adjusted risks of hospitalisation (HR: 0.87, 95% CI: 0.68-1.11), intensive care unit admission (HR: 1.27, 95% CI: 0.86-1.86), or mortality (HR: 1.02, 95% CI: 0.53-1.95) in patients with RMD versus comparators. There was a trend towards a higher risk of mechanical ventilation in the RMD cohort versus comparators, although not statistically significant (adjusted HR: 1.51, 95% CI: 0.93-2.44). There was a trend towards improvement in mechanical ventilation risk in the recent versus early RMD cohort (10% vs 19%, adjusted HR: 0.44, 95% CI: 0.17-1.12).

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with RMD and comparators had similar risks of poor COVID-19 outcomes after adjusting for race, smoking and comorbidities. The higher risk of mechanical ventilation in the early RMD cohort was no longer detected in a recent cohort, suggesting improved management over time.

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