Pre- and post-vaccination characteristics and risk factors for COVID-19 outcomes in a Swedish population-based cohort of COPD patients

ERJ Open Res. 2023 Jun 26;9(3):00711-2022. doi: 10.1183/23120541.00711-2022. eCollection 2023 May.


Rationale: Evidence on risk factors for Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outcomes among patients with COPD in relation to COVID-19 vaccination remains limited. The objectives of the present study were to characterise determinants of COVID-19 infection, hospitalisation, intensive care unit (ICU) admission and death in COPD patients in their unvaccinated state compared to when vaccinated.

Methods: We included all COPD patients in the Swedish National Airway Register (SNAR). Events of COVID-19 infection (test and/or healthcare encounter), hospitalisation, ICU admission and death were identified from 1 January 2020 to 30 November 2021. Using adjusted Cox regression, associations between baseline sociodemographics, comorbidities, treatments, clinical measurements and COVID-19 outcomes, during unvaccinated and vaccinated follow-up time, were analysed.

Results: The population-based COPD cohort included 87 472 patients, among whom 6771 (7.7%) COVID-19 infections, 2897 (3.3%) hospitalisations, 233 (0.3%) ICU admissions and 882 (1.0%) COVID-19 deaths occurred. During unvaccinated follow-up, risk of COVID-19 hospitalisation and death increased with age, male sex, lower education, non-married status and being foreign-born. Comorbidities increased risk of several outcomes, e.g. respiratory failure for infection and hospitalisation (adjusted hazard ratios (HR) 1.78, 95% CI 1.58-2.02 and 2.51, 2.16-2.91, respectively), obesity for ICU admission (3.52, 2.29-5.40) and cardiovascular disease for mortality (2.80, 2.16-3.64). Inhaled COPD therapy was associated with infection, hospitalisation and death. COPD severity was also associated with COVID-19, especially hospitalisation and death. Although the risk factor panorama was similar, COVID-19 vaccination attenuated HRs for some risk factors.

Conclusion: This study provides population-based evidence on predictive risk factors for COVID-19 outcomes and highlights the positive implications of COVID-19 vaccination for COPD patients.