Objective: To characterize patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) affected by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and to analyze associations of comorbidities and medications on infection outcomes.
Methods: Patients with SLE and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction-confirmed COVID-19 were identified through an established New York University lupus cohort, query of 2 hospital systems, and referrals from rheumatologists. Data were prospectively collected via a web-based questionnaire and review of medical records. Data on baseline characteristics were obtained for all patients with COVID-19 to analyze risk factors for hospitalization. Data were also collected on asymptomatic patients and those with COVID-19-like symptoms who tested negative or were not tested. Statistical analyses were limited to confirmed COVID-19-positive patients.
Results: A total of 226 SLE patients were included: 41 with confirmed COVID-19, 19 who tested negative for COVID-19, 42 with COVID-19-like symptoms who did not get tested, and 124 who remained asymptomatic without testing. Of the SLE patients with confirmed COVID-19, hospitalization was required in 24 (59%) and intensive care unit-level of care in 4, and 4 died. Hospitalized patients tended to be older, nonwhite, Hispanic, have higher body mas index (BMI), history of nephritis, and at least 1 comorbidity. An exploratory (due to limited sample size) logistic regression analysis identified race, presence of at least 1 comorbidity, and BMI as independent predictors of hospitalization.
Conclusion: In general, the variables predictive of hospitalization in our SLE patients were similar to those identified in the general population. Further studies are needed to understand additional risk factors for poor COVID-19 outcomes in patients with SLE.
© 2020, American College of Rheumatology.