Underlying conditions in adults with COVID-19

Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2020 Sep 16;140(13). doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.20.0512. Print 2020 Sep 29.
[Article in English, Norwegian]


Background: Cardiovascular diseases, cancer, type-2 diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were initially noted as the most common diseases among individuals who were hospitalised for COVID-19. However, the evidence base is weak. The objective of this study is to describe how selected diseases were distributed among adults with confirmed COVID-19 (COVID-19 positive tests) and among those hospitalised for COVID-19 compared to the general population.

Material and method: We used data from the Norwegian Patient Registry, the Norwegian Registry for Primary Health Care and the Norwegian Surveillance System for Communicable Diseases for adults from the age of 20 and older for the period 1 March 2020-13 May 2020.

Results: Of all those who tested positive for COVID-19, 7 632 (94 %) were aged 20 years or older, and 1 025 (13.4 %) of these had been hospitalised. Among those hospitalised with COVID-19, there was a higher proportion of individuals with cardiovascular diseases (18.3 % versus 15.6 %), cancer (6.9 % versus 5.4 %), type-2 diabetes (8.6 % versus 5.2 %) and COPD (3.8 % versus 2.7 %) than in the general population as a whole after adjusting for age. The proportion of hospitalised patients with asthma, other chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, ongoing cancer treatment, complications related to hypertension, obesity and overweight, neurological disorders and cardiac and renal failure was also higher than in the general population. There were few differences between persons who had tested positive for COVID-19 and the general population in terms of underlying conditions.

Interpretation: Among those hospitalised for COVID-19, there was a higher proportion of patients with underlying illnesses than in the general population. This may indicate that these patients tend to have a more severe course of disease or that they are more likely to be hospitalised compared to healthy individuals. The results must be interpreted with caution, since the sample of COVID-19 individuals is non-random.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Comorbidity*
  • Coronavirus Infections / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / complications*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Young Adult