Comorbid Chronic Diseases and Acute Organ Injuries Are Strongly Correlated with Disease Severity and Mortality among COVID-19 Patients: A Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis

Research (Wash D C). 2020 Apr 19;2020:2402961. doi: 10.34133/2020/2402961. eCollection 2020.


The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has been rapidly spreading on a global scale. To date, there is no specific vaccine against the causative virus, SARS-CoV-2, nor is there an effective medicine for treating COVID-19, thus raising concerns with respect to the effect of risk factors such as clinical course and pathophysiological parameters on disease severity and outcome in patients with COVID-19. By extracting and analyzing all available published clinical data, we identified several major clinical characteristics associated with increased disease severity and mortality among patients with COVID-19. Specifically, preexisting chronic conditions such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes are strongly associated with an increased risk of developing severe COVID-19; surprisingly, however, we found no correlation between chronic liver disease and increased disease severity. In addition, we found that both acute cardiac injury and acute kidney injury are highly correlated with an increased risk of COVID-19-related mortality. Given the high risk of comorbidity and the high mortality rate associated with tissue damage, organ function should be monitored closely in patients diagnosed with COVID-19, and this approach should be included when establishing new guidelines for managing these high-risk patients. Moreover, additional clinical data are needed in order to determine whether a supportive therapy can help mitigate the development of severe, potentially fatal complications, and further studies are needed to identify the pathophysiology and the mechanism underlying this novel coronavirus-associated infectious disease. Taken together, these findings provide new insights regarding clinical strategies for improving the management and outcome of patients with COVID-19.