Rationale: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was first announced in Wuhan, and has rapidly evolved into a pandemic. However, the risk factors associated with the severity and mortality of COVID-19 are yet to be described in detail. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the information of 1525 cases from the Leishenshan Hospital in Wuhan. Univariate and multivariate Cox regression analyses were generated to explore the relationship between procalcitonin (PCT) level and the progression and prognosis of COVID-19. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to explore the relationship between disease severity in hospitalized patients and their PCT levels. Survival curves and the cumulative hazard function for COVID-19 progression were conducted in the two groups. To further detect the relationship between the computed tomography score and survival days, curve-fitting analyses were performed. Results: Patients in the elevated PCT group had a higher incidence of severe and critical severity conditions (P < 0.001), death, and higher computed tomography (CT) scores. There was an association between elevated PCT levels and mortality in the univariate ((hazard ratio , 3.377; 95% confidence interval , 1.012-10.344; P = 0.033) and multivariate Cox regression analysis (HR, 4.933; 95% CI, 1.170-20.788; P = 0.030). Similarly, patients with elevated PCT were more likely to have critically severe disease conditions in the univariate (odds ratio , 7.247; 95% CI, 3.559-14.757; P < 0.001) and multivariate logistic regression analysis (OR, 10.679; 95% CI, 4.562-25.000; P < 0.001). Kaplan-Meier curves showed poorer prognosis for patients with elevated PCT (P = 0.024). The CT score 1 for patients with elevated PCT peaked at day 40 following the onset of symptoms then decreased gradually, while their total CT score was relatively stable. Conclusion: PCT level was shown as an independent risk factor of in-hospital mortality among COVID-19 patients. Compared with inpatients with normal PCT levels, inpatients with elevated PCT levels had a higher risk for overall mortality and critically severe disease. These findings may provide guidance for improving the prognosis of patients with critically severe COVID-19.
Keywords: COVID-19; disease progression; procalcitonin; prognosis; risk factor.
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