Background: The incidence of acute complications and mortality associated with COVID-19 remains poorly characterized. The aims of this systematic review and meta-analysis were to summarize the evidence on clinically relevant outcomes in hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, and medRxiv were searched up to April 20, 2020, for studies including hospitalized symptomatic adult patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. The primary outcomes were all-cause mortality and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The secondary outcomes included acute cardiac or kidney injury, shock, coagulopathy, and venous thromboembolism. The main analysis was based on data from peer-reviewed studies. Summary estimates and the corresponding 95% prediction intervals (PIs) were obtained through meta-analyses.
Results: A total of 44 peer-reviewed studies with 14,866 COVID-19 patients were included. In general, risk of bias was high. All-cause mortality was 10% overall (95% PI, 2 to 39%; 1687/14203 patients; 43 studies), 34% in patients admitted to intensive care units (95% PI, 8 to 76%; 659/2368 patients; 10 studies), 83% in patients requiring invasive ventilation (95% PI, 1 to 100%; 180/220 patients; 6 studies), and 75% in patients who developed ARDS (95% PI, 35 to 94%; 339/455 patients; 11 studies). On average, ARDS occurred in 14% of patients (95% PI, 2 to 59%; 999/6322 patients; 23 studies), acute cardiac injury in 15% (95% PI, 5 to 38%; 452/2389 patients; 10 studies), venous thromboembolism in 15% (95% PI, 0 to 100%; patients; 3 studies), acute kidney injury in 6% (95% PI, 1 to 41%; 318/4682 patients; 15 studies), coagulopathy in 6% (95% PI, 1 to 39%; 223/3370 patients; 9 studies), and shock in 3% (95% PI, 0 to 61%; 203/4309 patients; 13 studies).
Conclusions: Mortality was very high in critically ill patients based on very low-quality evidence due to striking heterogeneity and risk of bias. The incidence of clinically relevant outcomes was substantial, although reported by only one third of the studies suggesting considerable underreporting.
Trial registration: PROSPERO registration ID for this study is CRD42020177243 ( https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/display_record.php?RecordID=177243 ).
Keywords: Adult respiratory distress syndrome; COVID-19; Coronavirus; Oxygen inhalation therapy; SARS virus.