Predictors of progression from moderate to severe coronavirus disease 2019: a retrospective cohort

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2020 Jul 2;S1198-743X(20)30379-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2020.06.033. Online ahead of print.


Objective: Most cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are identified as moderate, which is defined as having a fever or dry cough and lung imaging with ground-glass opacities. The risk factors and predictors of prognosis in such cohorts remain uncertain.

Methods: All adults with COVID-19 of moderate severity diagnosed using quantitative RT-PCR and hospitalized at the Central Hospital of Wuhan, China, from 1 January to 20 March 2020 were enrolled in this retrospective study. The main outcomes were progression from moderate to severe or critical condition or death.

Results: Among the 456 enrolled patients with moderate COVID-19, 251/456 (55.0%) had poor prognosis. Multivariate logistic regression analysis identified higher neutrophil count: lymphocyte count ratio (NLR) on admission (OR 1.032, 95% CI 1.042-1.230, p 0.004) and higher C-reactive protein (CRP) on admission (OR 3.017, 95% CI 1.941-4.690, p < 0.001) were associated with increased OR of poor prognosis. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) for NLR and CRP in predicting progression to critical condition was 0.77 (95% CI 0.694-0.846, p < 0.001) and 0.84 (95% CI 0.780-0.905, p < 0.001), with a cut-off value of 2.79 and 25.95 mg/L, respectively. The AUC of NLR and CRP in predicting death was 0.81 (95% CI 0.732-0.878, p < 0.001) and 0.89 (95% CI 0.825-0.946, p < 0.001), with a cut-off value of 3.19 and 33.4 mg/L, respectively.

Conclusions: Higher levels of NLR and CRP at admission were associated with poor prognosis of individuals with moderate COVID-19. NLR and CRP were good predictors of progression to critical condition and death.

Keywords: Coronavirus disease 2019; Moderate; Neutrophil–lymphocyte ratio; Predict; Prognosis.