Characteristics, outcomes, and mortality amongst 133,589 patients with prevalent autoimmune diseases diagnosed with, and 48,418 hospitalised for COVID-19: a multinational distributed network cohort analysis

medRxiv. 2020 Nov 27;2020.11.24.20236802. doi: 10.1101/2020.11.24.20236802. Preprint


Objective: Patients with autoimmune diseases were advised to shield to avoid COVID-19, but information on their prognosis is lacking. We characterised 30-day outcomes and mortality after hospitalisation with COVID-19 among patients with prevalent autoimmune diseases, and compared outcomes after hospital admissions among similar patients with seasonal influenza.

Design: Multinational network cohort study.

Setting: Electronic health records data from Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) (NYC, United States [US]), Optum [US], Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) (US), Information System for Research in Primary Care-Hospitalisation Linked Data (SIDIAP-H) (Spain), and claims data from IQVIA Open Claims (US) and Health Insurance and Review Assessment (HIRA) (South Korea).

Participants: All patients with prevalent autoimmune diseases, diagnosed and/or hospitalised between January and June 2020 with COVID-19, and similar patients hospitalised with influenza in 2017-2018 were included.

Main outcome measures: 30-day complications during hospitalisation and death.

Results: We studied 133,589 patients diagnosed and 48,418 hospitalised with COVID-19 with prevalent autoimmune diseases. The majority of participants were female (60.5% to 65.9%) and aged ≥50 years. The most prevalent autoimmune conditions were psoriasis (3.5 to 32.5%), rheumatoid arthritis (3.9 to 18.9%), and vasculitis (3.3 to 17.6%). Amongst hospitalised patients, Type 1 diabetes was the most common autoimmune condition (4.8% to 7.5%) in US databases, rheumatoid arthritis in HIRA (18.9%), and psoriasis in SIDIAP-H (26.4%).Compared to 70,660 hospitalised with influenza, those admitted with COVID-19 had more respiratory complications including pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome, and higher 30-day mortality (2.2% to 4.3% versus 6.3% to 24.6%).

Conclusions: Patients with autoimmune diseases had high rates of respiratory complications and 30-day mortality following a hospitalization with COVID-19. Compared to influenza, COVID-19 is a more severe disease, leading to more complications and higher mortality. Future studies should investigate predictors of poor outcomes in COVID-19 patients with autoimmune diseases.

What is already known about this topic: Patients with autoimmune conditions may be at increased risk of COVID-19 infection andcomplications.There is a paucity of evidence characterising the outcomes of hospitalised COVID-19 patients with prevalent autoimmune conditions.

What this study adds: Most people with autoimmune diseases who required hospitalisation for COVID-19 were women, aged 50 years or older, and had substantial previous comorbidities.Patients who were hospitalised with COVID-19 and had prevalent autoimmune diseases had higher prevalence of hypertension, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes as compared to those with prevalent autoimmune diseases who were diagnosed with COVID-19.A variable proportion of 6% to 25% across data sources died within one month of hospitalisation with COVID-19 and prevalent autoimmune diseases.For people with autoimmune diseases, COVID-19 hospitalisation was associated with worse outcomes and 30-day mortality compared to admission with influenza in the 2017-2018 season.

Publication types

  • Preprint