Background: Patients with hematological malignancies (HM) are at high risk of mortality from SARS-CoV-2 disease 2019 (COVID-19). A better understanding of risk factors for adverse outcomes may improve clinical management in these patients. We therefore studied baseline characteristics of HM patients developing COVID-19 and analyzed predictors of mortality.
Methods: The survey was supported by the Scientific Working Group Infection in Hematology of the European Hematology Association (EHA). Eligible for the analysis were adult patients with HM and laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 observed between March and December 2020.
Results: The study sample includes 3801 cases, represented by lymphoproliferative (mainly non-Hodgkin lymphoma n = 1084, myeloma n = 684 and chronic lymphoid leukemia n = 474) and myeloproliferative malignancies (mainly acute myeloid leukemia n = 497 and myelodysplastic syndromes n = 279). Severe/critical COVID-19 was observed in 63.8% of patients (n = 2425). Overall, 2778 (73.1%) of the patients were hospitalized, 689 (18.1%) of whom were admitted to intensive care units (ICUs). Overall, 1185 patients (31.2%) died. The primary cause of death was COVID-19 in 688 patients (58.1%), HM in 173 patients (14.6%), and a combination of both COVID-19 and progressing HM in 155 patients (13.1%). Highest mortality was observed in acute myeloid leukemia (199/497, 40%) and myelodysplastic syndromes (118/279, 42.3%). The mortality rate significantly decreased between the first COVID-19 wave (March-May 2020) and the second wave (October-December 2020) (581/1427, 40.7% vs. 439/1773, 24.8%, p value < 0.0001). In the multivariable analysis, age, active malignancy, chronic cardiac disease, liver disease, renal impairment, smoking history, and ICU stay correlated with mortality. Acute myeloid leukemia was a higher mortality risk than lymphoproliferative diseases.
Conclusions: This survey confirms that COVID-19 patients with HM are at high risk of lethal complications. However, improved COVID-19 prevention has reduced mortality despite an increase in the number of reported cases.
Keywords: COVID-19; EHA; Epidemiology; Hematological malignancies; Pandemic.
© 2021. The Author(s).