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1.
BMC Med Res Methodol ; 23(1): 81, 2023 04 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2281950

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Understanding how SARS-CoV-2 infection impacts long-term patient outcomes requires identification of comparable persons with and without infection. We report the design and implementation of a matching strategy employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) COVID-19 Observational Research Collaboratory (CORC) to develop comparable cohorts of SARS-CoV-2 infected and uninfected persons for the purpose of inferring potential causative long-term adverse effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the Veteran population. METHODS: In a retrospective cohort study, we identified VA health care system patients who were and were not infected with SARS-CoV-2 on a rolling monthly basis. We generated matched cohorts within each month utilizing a combination of exact and time-varying propensity score matching based on electronic health record (EHR)-derived covariates that can be confounders or risk factors across a range of outcomes. RESULTS: From an initial pool of 126,689,864 person-months of observation, we generated final matched cohorts of 208,536 Veterans infected between March 2020-April 2021 and 3,014,091 uninfected Veterans. Matched cohorts were well-balanced on all 39 covariates used in matching after excluding patients for: no VA health care utilization; implausible age, weight, or height; living outside of the 50 states or Washington, D.C.; prior SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis per Medicare claims; or lack of a suitable match. Most Veterans in the matched cohort were male (88.3%), non-Hispanic (87.1%), white (67.2%), and living in urban areas (71.5%), with a mean age of 60.6, BMI of 31.3, Gagne comorbidity score of 1.4 and a mean of 2.3 CDC high-risk conditions. The most common diagnoses were hypertension (61.4%), diabetes (34.3%), major depression (32.2%), coronary heart disease (28.5%), PTSD (25.5%), anxiety (22.5%), and chronic kidney disease (22.5%). CONCLUSION: This successful creation of matched SARS-CoV-2 infected and uninfected patient cohorts from the largest integrated health system in the United States will support cohort studies of outcomes derived from EHRs and sample selection for qualitative interviews and patient surveys. These studies will increase our understanding of the long-term outcomes of Veterans who were infected with SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Veterans , Humans , Male , Aged , United States/epidemiology , Middle Aged , Female , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Retrospective Studies , COVID-19 Testing , Medicare
2.
Medicine (Baltimore) ; 101(46): e31248, 2022 Nov 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2135736

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and its long-term outcomes may be jointly caused by a wide range of clinical, social, and economic characteristics. Studies aiming to identify mechanisms for SARS-CoV-2 morbidity and mortality must measure and account for these characteristics to arrive at unbiased, accurate conclusions. We sought to inform the design, measurement, and analysis of longitudinal studies of long-term outcomes among people infected with SARS-CoV-2. We fielded a survey to an interprofessional group of clinicians and scientists to identify factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection and subsequent outcomes. Using an iterative process, we refined the resulting list of factors into a consensus causal diagram relating infection and 12-month mortality. Finally, we operationalized concepts from the causal diagram into minimally sufficient adjustment sets using common medical record data elements. Total 31 investigators identified 49 potential risk factors for and 72 potential consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Risk factors for infection with SARS-CoV-2 were grouped into five domains: demographics, physical health, mental health, personal social, and economic factors, and external social and economic factors. Consequences of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were grouped into clinical consequences, social consequences, and economic consequences. Risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection were developed into a consensus directed acyclic graph for mortality that included two minimally sufficient adjustment sets. We present a collectively developed and iteratively refined list of data elements for observational research in SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease. By accounting for these elements, studies aimed at identifying causal pathways for long-term outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection can be made more informative.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Consensus , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Ann Intern Med ; 2022 Oct 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2145010

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The effectiveness of a third mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose (booster dose) against the Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant is uncertain, especially in older, high-risk populations. OBJECTIVE: To determine mRNA booster vaccine effectiveness (VE) against SARS-CoV-2 infection, hospitalization, and death in the Omicron era by booster type, primary vaccine type, time since primary vaccination, age, and comorbidity burden. DESIGN: Retrospective matched cohort study designed to emulate a target trial of booster vaccination versus no booster, conducted from 1 December 2021 to 31 March 2022. SETTING: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care system. PARTICIPANTS: Persons who had received 2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine doses at least 5 months earlier. INTERVENTION: Booster monovalent mRNA vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech's BNT162b2 or Moderna's mRNA-1273) versus no booster. MEASUREMENTS: Booster VE. RESULTS: Each group included 490 838 well-matched persons, who were predominantly male (88%), had a mean age of 63.0 years (SD, 14.0), and were followed for up to 121 days (mean, 79.8 days). Booster VE more than 10 days after a booster dose was 42.3% (95% CI, 40.6% to 43.9%) against SARS-CoV-2 infection, 53.3% (CI, 48.1% to 58.0%) against SARS-CoV-2-related hospitalization, and 79.1% (CI, 71.2% to 84.9%) against SARS-CoV-2-related death. Booster VE was similar for different booster types (BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273), age groups, and primary vaccination regimens but was significantly higher with longer time since primary vaccination and higher comorbidity burden. LIMITATION: Predominantly male population. CONCLUSION: Booster mRNA vaccination was highly effective in preventing death and moderately effective in preventing infection and hospitalization for up to 4 months after administration in the Omicron era. Increased uptake of booster vaccination, which is currently suboptimal, should be pursued to limit the morbidity and mortality of SARS-CoV-2 infection, especially in persons with high comorbidity burden. PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

4.
JAMA Netw Open ; 5(11): e2240332, 2022 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2094125

ABSTRACT

Importance: There is increasing recognition of the long-term health effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection (sometimes called long COVID). However, little is yet known about the clinical diagnosis and management of long COVID within health systems. Objective: To describe dominant themes pertaining to the clinical diagnosis and management of long COVID in the electronic health records (EHRs) of patients with a diagnostic code for this condition (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision [ICD-10] code U09.9). Design, Setting, and Participants: This qualitative analysis used data from EHRs of a national random sample of 200 patients receiving care in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with documentation of a positive result on a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for SARS-CoV-2 between February 27, 2020, and December 31, 2021, and an ICD-10 diagnostic code for long COVID between October 1, 2021, when the code was implemented, and March 1, 2022. Data were analyzed from February 5 to May 31, 2022. Main Outcomes and Measures: A text word search and qualitative analysis of patients' VA-wide EHRs was performed to identify dominant themes pertaining to the clinical diagnosis and management of long COVID. Results: In this qualitative analysis of documentation in the VA-wide EHR, the mean (SD) age of the 200 sampled patients at the time of their first positive PCR test result for SARS-CoV-2 in VA records was 60 (14.5) years. The sample included 173 (86.5%) men; 45 individuals (22.5%) were identified as Black and 136 individuals (68.0%) were identified as White. In qualitative analysis of documentation pertaining to long COVID in patients' EHRs 2 dominant themes were identified: (1) clinical uncertainty, in that it was often unclear whether particular symptoms could be attributed to long COVID, given the medical complexity and functional limitations of many patients and absence of specific markers for this condition, which could lead to ongoing monitoring, diagnostic testing, and specialist referral; and (2) care fragmentation, describing how post-COVID-19 care processes were often siloed from and poorly coordinated with other aspects of care and could be burdensome to patients. Conclusions and Relevance: This qualitative study of documentation in the VA EHR highlights the complexity of diagnosing long COVID in clinical settings and the challenges of caring for patients who have or are suspected of having this condition.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Male , Humans , Middle Aged , Female , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Clinical Decision-Making , Uncertainty , Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome
5.
JAMA Netw Open ; 5(7): e2224359, 2022 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1971176

ABSTRACT

Importance: Some persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 experience symptoms or impairments many months after acute infection. Objectives: To determine the rates, clinical setting, and factors associated with documented receipt of COVID-19-related care 3 or more months after acute infection. Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective cohort study used data from the US Department of Veterans Affairs health care system. Participants included persons with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test between February 1, 2020, and April 30, 2021, who were still alive 3 months after infection and did not have evidence of reinfection. Data analysis was performed from February 2020 to December 2021. Exposures: Positive SARS-CoV-2 test. Main Outcomes and Measures: Rates and factors associated with documentation of COVID-19-related International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision codes (U07.1, Z86.16, U09.9, and J12.82) 3 or more months after acute infection (hereafter, long-COVID care), with follow-up extending to December 31, 2021. Results: Among 198 601 SARS-CoV-2-positive persons included in the study, the mean (SD) age was 60.4 (17.7) years, 176 942 individuals (89.1%) were male, 133 924 (67.4%) were White, 44 733 (22.5%) were Black, and 19 735 (9.9%) were Hispanic. During a mean (SD) follow-up of 13.5 (3.6) months, long-COVID care was documented in a wide variety of clinics, most commonly primary care and general internal medicine (18 634 of 56 310 encounters [33.1%]), pulmonary (7360 of 56 310 encounters [13.1%]), and geriatrics (5454 of 56 310 encounters [9.7%]). Long-COVID care was documented in 26 745 cohort members (13.5%), with great variability across geographical regions (range, 10.8%-18.1%) and medical centers (range, 3.0%-41.0%). Factors significantly associated with documented long-COVID care included older age, Black or American Indian/Alaska Native race, Hispanic ethnicity, geographical region, high Charlson Comorbidity Index score, having documented symptoms at the time of acute infection (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.71; 95% CI, 1.65-1.78) and requiring hospitalization (AOR, 2.60; 95% CI, 2.51-2.69) or mechanical ventilation (AOR, 2.46; 95% CI, 2.26-2.69). Patients who were fully vaccinated at the time of infection were less likely to receive long-COVID care (AOR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.68-0.90). Conclusions and Relevance: Long-COVID care was documented in a variety of clinical settings, with great variability across regions and medical centers and was documented more commonly in older persons, those with higher comorbidity burden, those with more severe acute COVID-19 presentation and those who were unvaccinated at the time of infection. These findings provide support and guidance for health care systems to develop systematic approaches to the evaluation and management of patients who may be experiencing long COVID.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Veterans , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Testing , Delivery of Health Care , Documentation , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome
6.
Ann Intern Med ; 175(3): 352-361, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742919

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Little is known about real-world COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness (VE) in racially and ethnically diverse, elderly populations with high comorbidity burden. OBJECTIVE: To determine the effectiveness of messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccines. DESIGN: Target trial emulation study comparing newly vaccinated persons with matched unvaccinated controls. SETTING: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care system. PARTICIPANTS: Among persons receiving care in the Veterans Affairs health care system (n = 5 766 638), those who received at least 1 dose of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from 11 December 2020 to 25 March 2021 (n = 2 099 871) were matched to unvaccinated controls in a 1:1 ratio according to demographic, clinical, and geographic characteristics. INTERVENTION: Follow-up for SARS-CoV-2 infection or SARS-CoV-2-related death, defined as death within 30 days of infection, began after the vaccination date or an identical index date for the matched unvaccinated controls and continued until up to 30 June 2021. MEASUREMENTS: Vaccine effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 infection or SARS-CoV-2-related death. RESULTS: Vaccinated and unvaccinated groups were well matched; both were predominantly male (92.9% vs. 93.4%), had advanced age (mean, 68.7 years in both groups), had diverse racial and ethnic distribution (for example, Black: 17.3% vs. 17.0%, Hispanic: 6.5% vs. 6.1%), and had substantial comorbidity burden. Vaccine effectiveness 7 or more days after the second vaccine dose was 69% (95% CI, 67% to 70%) against SARS-CoV-2 infection and 86% (CI, 82% to 89%) against SARS-CoV-2-related death and was similar when follow-up was extended to 31 March versus 30 June. Vaccine effectiveness against infection decreased with increasing age and comorbidity burden. LIMITATION: Predominantly male population and lack of data on SARS-CoV-2 variants. CONCLUSION: In an elderly, diverse, high-comorbidity population, COVID-19 VE against infection was substantially lower than previously reported, but VE against death was high. Complementary infection mitigation efforts remain important for pandemic control, even with vaccination. PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Aged , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Delivery of Health Care , Female , Humans , Male , Vaccination
7.
American Journal of Public Health ; 112:S36-S38, 2022.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1695673

ABSTRACT

CAUSE OF DEATH REPORTING Even if immediate and underlying CODs are entered accurately according to these standards, important information is lost in the process that leads to the "leading causes of death" reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). [...]when regional vital statistics offices share death certificate data with the CDC, the CDC's computerized algorithm selects one diagnosis as the underlying COD, and this is the diagnosis that is reported in CDC mortality statistics.4 Other diagnoses appear in separate COD fields in mortality databases but in no particular order, and they are not included in the vast majority of mortality statistics. [...]in this example, the death might be attributed to cancer orto something else entirely. Another recent study of opioidrelated deaths among "cancer survivors" (which the authors did not explicitly define, but they cited an article that Included In Its definition Individuals with active disease and those with a more remote history of cancer) highlights the potential for loss of data on acute events when a serious Illness and an acute event coexist at the time of death.6 The authors found that decedents with opioid-related primary CODs were less likely to have a cancer diagnosis Included as a contributing COD than would be expected.

8.
PLoS Med ; 18(10): e1003807, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1484840

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: We examined whether key sociodemographic and clinical risk factors for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and mortality changed over time in a population-based cohort study. METHODS AND FINDINGS: In a cohort of 9,127,673 persons enrolled in the United States Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system, we evaluated the independent associations of sociodemographic and clinical characteristics with SARS-CoV-2 infection (n = 216,046), SARS-CoV-2-related mortality (n = 10,230), and case fatality at monthly intervals between February 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. VA enrollees had a mean age of 61 years (SD 17.7) and were predominantly male (90.9%) and White (64.5%), with 14.6% of Black race and 6.3% of Hispanic ethnicity. Black (versus White) race was strongly associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 5.10, [95% CI 4.65 to 5.59], p-value <0.001), mortality (AOR 3.85 [95% CI 3.30 to 4.50], p-value < 0.001), and case fatality (AOR 2.56, 95% CI 2.23 to 2.93, p-value < 0.001) in February to March 2020, but these associations were attenuated and not statistically significant by November 2020 for infection (AOR 1.03 [95% CI 1.00 to 1.07] p-value = 0.05) and mortality (AOR 1.08 [95% CI 0.96 to 1.20], p-value = 0.21) and were reversed for case fatality (AOR 0.86, 95% CI 0.78 to 0.95, p-value = 0.005). American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN versus White) race was associated with higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection in April and May 2020; this association declined over time and reversed by March 2021 (AOR 0.66 [95% CI 0.51 to 0.85] p-value = 0.004). Hispanic (versus non-Hispanic) ethnicity was associated with higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and mortality during almost every time period, with no evidence of attenuation over time. Urban (versus rural) residence was associated with higher risk of infection (AOR 2.02, [95% CI 1.83 to 2.22], p-value < 0.001), mortality (AOR 2.48 [95% CI 2.08 to 2.96], p-value < 0.001), and case fatality (AOR 2.24, 95% CI 1.93 to 2.60, p-value < 0.001) in February to April 2020, but these associations attenuated over time and reversed by September 2020 (AOR 0.85, 95% CI 0.81 to 0.89, p-value < 0.001 for infection, AOR 0.72, 95% CI 0.62 to 0.83, p-value < 0.001 for mortality and AOR 0.81, 95% CI 0.71 to 0.93, p-value = 0.006 for case fatality). Throughout the observation period, high comorbidity burden, younger age, and obesity were consistently associated with infection, while high comorbidity burden, older age, and male sex were consistently associated with mortality. Limitations of the study include that changes over time in the associations of some risk factors may be affected by changes in the likelihood of testing for SARS-CoV-2 according to those risk factors; also, study results apply directly to VA enrollees who are predominantly male and have comprehensive healthcare and need to be confirmed in other populations. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we found that strongly positive associations of Black and AI/AN (versus White) race and urban (versus rural) residence with SARS-CoV-2 infection, mortality, and case fatality observed early in the pandemic were ameliorated or reversed by March 2021.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Population Surveillance , Racial Groups , Rural Population/trends , United States Department of Veterans Affairs/trends , Urban Population/trends , Aged , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/economics , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Mortality/trends , Population Surveillance/methods , Risk Factors , Socioeconomic Factors , United States/epidemiology
9.
J Subst Abuse Treat ; 133: 108492, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1253265

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Telemedicine-delivered buprenorphine (tele-buprenorphine) can potentially increase access to buprenorphine for patients with opioid use disorder (OUD), especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we know little about use in clinical care. METHODS: This study was a retrospective national cohort study of veterans diagnosed with opioid use disorder (OUD) receiving buprenorphine treatment from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) in fiscal years 2012-2019. The study examined trends in use of tele-buprenorphine and compared demographic and clinical characteristics in patients who received tele-buprenorphine versus those who received in-person treatment only. RESULTS: Utilization of tele-buprenorphine increased from 2.29% of buprenorphine patients in FY2012 (n = 187) to 7.96% (n = 1352) in FY2019 in VHA veterans nationally. Compared to patients receiving only in-person care, tele-buprenorphine patients were less likely to be male (AOR = 0.85, 95% CI: 0.73-0.98) or Black (AOR = 0.54, 95% CI: 0.45-0.65). Tele-buprenorphine patients were more likely to be treated in community-based outpatient clinics rather than large medical centers (AOR = 2.91, 95% CI: 2.67-3.17) and to live in rural areas (AOR = 2.12, 95% CI:1.92-2.35). The median days supplied of buprenorphine treatment was 722 (interquartile range: 322-1459) among the tele-buprenorphine patients compared to 295 (interquartile range: 67-854) among patients who received treatment in-person. CONCLUSIONS: Use of telemedicine to deliver buprenorphine treatment in VHA increased 3.5-fold between 2012 and 2019, though overall use remained low prior to COVID-19. Tele-buprenorphine is a promising modality especially when treatment access is limited. However, we must continue to understand how practitioners and patient are using telemedicine and how these patients' outcomes compare to those using in-person care.


Subject(s)
Buprenorphine , COVID-19 , Opioid-Related Disorders , Telemedicine , Veterans , Buprenorphine/therapeutic use , Cohort Studies , Humans , Male , Opiate Substitution Treatment , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
10.
EClinicalMedicine ; 32: 100741, 2021 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1071273

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Suicides by any method, plus 'nonsuicide' fatalities from drug self-intoxication (estimated from selected forensically undetermined and 'accidental' deaths), together represent self-injury mortality (SIM)-fatalities due to mental disorders or distress. SIM is especially important to examine given frequent undercounting of suicides amongst drug overdose deaths. We report suicide and SIM trends in the United States of America (US) during 1999-2018, portray interstate rate trends, and examine spatiotemporal (spacetime) diffusion or spread of the drug self-intoxication component of SIM, with attention to potential for differential suicide misclassification. METHODS: For this state-based, cross-sectional, panel time series, we used de-identified manner and underlying cause-of-death data for the 50 states and District of Columbia (DC) from CDC's Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research. Procedures comprised joinpoint regression to describe national trends; Spearman's rank-order correlation coefficient to assess interstate SIM and suicide rate congruence; and spacetime hierarchical modelling of the 'nonsuicide' SIM component. FINDINGS: The national annual average percentage change over the observation period in the SIM rate was 4.3% (95% CI: 3.3%, 5.4%; p<0.001) versus 1.8% (95% CI: 1.6%, 2.0%; p<0.001) for the suicide rate. By 2017/2018, all states except Nebraska (19.9) posted a SIM rate of at least 21.0 deaths per 100,000 population-the floor of the rate range for the top 5 ranking states in 1999/2000. The rank-order correlation coefficient for SIM and suicide rates was 0.82 (p<0.001) in 1999/2000 versus 0.34 (p = 0.02) by 2017/2018. Seven states in the West posted a ≥ 5.0% reduction in their standardised mortality ratios of 'nonsuicide' drug fatalities, relative to the national ratio, and 6 states from the other 3 major regions a >6.0% increase (p<0.05). INTERPRETATION: Depiction of rising SIM trends across states and major regions unmasks a burgeoning national mental health crisis. Geographic variation is plausibly a partial product of local heterogeneity in toxic drug availability and the quality of medicolegal death investigations. Like COVID-19, the nation will only be able to prevent SIM by responding with collective, comprehensive, systemic approaches. Injury surveillance and prevention, mental health, and societal well-being are poorly served by the continuing segregation of substance use disorders from other mental disorders in clinical medicine and public health practice. FUNDING: This study was partially funded by the National Centre for Injury Prevention and Control, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (R49CE002093) and the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (1UM1DA049412-01; 1R21DA046521-01A1).

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