Objectives: To perform an international comparison of the trajectory of laboratory values among hospitalized patients with COVID-19 who develop severe disease and identify optimal timing of laboratory value collection to predict severity across hospitals and regions.
Design: Retrospective cohort study.
Setting: The Consortium for Clinical Characterization of COVID-19 by EHR (4CE), an international multi-site data-sharing collaborative of 342 hospitals in the US and in Europe.
Participants: Patients hospitalized with COVID-19, admitted before or after PCR-confirmed result for SARS-CoV-2. Primary and secondary outcome measures: Patients were categorized as ″ever-severe″ or ″never-severe″ using the validated 4CE severity criteria. Eighteen laboratory tests associated with poor COVID-19-related outcomes were evaluated for predictive accuracy by area under the curve (AUC), compared between the severity categories. Subgroup analysis was performed to validate a subset of laboratory values as predictive of severity against a published algorithm. A subset of laboratory values (CRP, albumin, LDH, neutrophil count, D-dimer, and procalcitonin) was compared between North American and European sites for severity prediction.
Results: Of 36,447 patients with COVID-19, 19,953 (43.7%) were categorized as ever-severe. Most patients (78.7%) were 50 years of age or older and male (60.5%). Longitudinal trajectories of CRP, albumin, LDH, neutrophil count, D-dimer, and procalcitonin showed association with disease severity. Significant differences of laboratory values at admission were found between the two groups. With the exception of D-dimer, predictive discrimination of laboratory values did not improve after admission. Sub-group analysis using age, D-dimer, CRP, and lymphocyte count as predictive of severity at admission showed similar discrimination to a published algorithm (AUC=0.88 and 0.91, respectively). Both models deteriorated in predictive accuracy as the disease progressed. On average, no difference in severity prediction was found between North American and European sites.
Conclusions: Laboratory test values at admission can be used to predict severity in patients with COVID-19. Prediction models show consistency across international sites highlighting the potential generalizability of these models.