Introduction: Severe COVID-19 illness in adults has been linked to underlying medical conditions. This study identified frequent underlying conditions and their attributable risk of severe COVID-19 illness.
Methods: We used data from more than 800 US hospitals in the Premier Healthcare Database Special COVID-19 Release (PHD-SR) to describe hospitalized patients aged 18 years or older with COVID-19 from March 2020 through March 2021. We used multivariable generalized linear models to estimate adjusted risk of intensive care unit admission, invasive mechanical ventilation, and death associated with frequent conditions and total number of conditions.
Results: Among 4,899,447 hospitalized adults in PHD-SR, 540,667 (11.0%) were patients with COVID-19, of whom 94.9% had at least 1 underlying medical condition. Essential hypertension (50.4%), disorders of lipid metabolism (49.4%), and obesity (33.0%) were the most common. The strongest risk factors for death were obesity (adjusted risk ratio [aRR] = 1.30; 95% CI, 1.27-1.33), anxiety and fear-related disorders (aRR = 1.28; 95% CI, 1.25-1.31), and diabetes with complication (aRR = 1.26; 95% CI, 1.24-1.28), as well as the total number of conditions, with aRRs of death ranging from 1.53 (95% CI, 1.41-1.67) for patients with 1 condition to 3.82 (95% CI, 3.45-4.23) for patients with more than 10 conditions (compared with patients with no conditions).
Conclusion: Certain underlying conditions and the number of conditions were associated with severe COVID-19 illness. Hypertension and disorders of lipid metabolism were the most frequent, whereas obesity, diabetes with complication, and anxiety disorders were the strongest risk factors for severe COVID-19 illness. Careful evaluation and management of underlying conditions among patients with COVID-19 can help stratify risk for severe illness.