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NPJ Digit Med ; 4(1): 117, 2021 Jul 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1328860


Understanding the relationships between pre-existing conditions and complications of COVID-19 infection is critical to identifying which patients will develop severe disease. Here, we leverage ~1.1 million clinical notes from 1803 hospitalized COVID-19 patients and deep neural network models to characterize associations between 21 pre-existing conditions and the development of 20 complications (e.g. respiratory, cardiovascular, renal, and hematologic) of COVID-19 infection throughout the course of infection (i.e. 0-30 days, 31-60 days, and 61-90 days). Pleural effusion was the most frequent complication of early COVID-19 infection (89/1803 patients, 4.9%) followed by cardiac arrhythmia (45/1803 patients, 2.5%). Notably, hypertension was the most significant risk factor associated with 10 different complications including acute respiratory distress syndrome, cardiac arrhythmia, and anemia. The onset of new complications after 30 days is rare and most commonly involves pleural effusion (31-60 days: 11 patients, 61-90 days: 9 patients). Lastly, comparing the rates of complications with a propensity-matched COVID-negative hospitalized population confirmed the importance of hypertension as a risk factor for early-onset complications. Overall, the associations between pre-COVID conditions and COVID-associated complications presented here may form the basis for the development of risk assessment scores to guide clinical care pathways.

Cell Death Discov ; 7(1): 55, 2021 Mar 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1135657


Intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and mortality in severe COVID-19 patients are driven by "cytokine storms" and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Interim clinical trial results suggest that the corticosteroid dexamethasone displays better 28-day survival in severe COVID-19 patients requiring ventilation or oxygen. In this study, 10 out of 16 patients (62.5%) that had an average plasma IL-6 value over 10 pg/mL post administration of corticosteroids also had worse outcomes (i.e., ICU stay >15 days or death), compared to 8 out of 41 patients (19.5%) who did not receive corticosteroids (p-value = 0.0024). Given this potential association between post-corticosteroid IL-6 levels and COVID-19 severity, we hypothesized that the glucocorticoid receptor (GR or NR3C1) may be coupled to IL-6 expression in specific cell types that govern cytokine release syndrome (CRS). Examining single-cell RNA-seq data from BALF of severe COVID-19 patients and nearly 2 million cells from a pan-tissue scan shows that alveolar macrophages, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells co-express NR3C1 and IL-6, motivating future studies on the links between the regulation of NR3C1 function and IL-6 levels.

J Med Virol ; 93(7): 4303-4318, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1118166


Here we analyze hospitalized andintensive care unit coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patient outcomes from the international VIRUS registry ( We find that COVID-19 patients administered unfractionated heparin but not enoxaparin have a higher mortality-rate (390 of 1012 = 39%) compared to patients administered enoxaparin but not unfractionated heparin (270 of 1939 = 14%), presenting a risk ratio of 2.79 (95% confidence interval [CI]: [2.42, 3.16]; p = 4.45e-52). This difference persists even after balancing on a number of covariates including demographics, comorbidities, admission diagnoses, and method of oxygenation, with an increased mortality rate on discharge from the hospital of 37% (268 of 733) for unfractionated heparin versus 22% (154 of 711) for enoxaparin, presenting a risk ratio of 1.69 (95% CI: [1.42, 2.00]; p = 1.5e-8). In these balanced cohorts, a number of complications occurred at an elevated rate for patients administered unfractionated heparin compared to patients administered enoxaparin, including acute kidney injury, acute cardiac injury, septic shock, and anemia. Furthermore, a higher percentage of Black/African American COVID patients (414 of 1294 [32%]) were noted to receive unfractionated heparin compared to White/Caucasian COVID patients (671 of 2644 [25%]), risk ratio 1.26 (95% CI: [1.14, 1.40]; p = 7.5e-5). After balancing upon available clinical covariates, this difference in anticoagulant use remained statistically significant (311 of 1047 [30%] for Black/African American vs. 263 of 1047 [25%] for White/Caucasian, p = .02, risk ratio 1.18; 95% CI: [1.03, 1.36]). While retrospective studies cannot suggest any causality, these findings motivate the need for follow-up prospective research into the observed racial disparity in anticoagulant use and outcomes for severe COVID-19 patients.

Anticoagulants/therapeutic use , COVID-19/mortality , Enoxaparin/therapeutic use , Healthcare Disparities , Heparin/therapeutic use , Thrombosis/prevention & control , Anticoagulants/adverse effects , Blood Coagulation/drug effects , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/drug therapy , Enoxaparin/adverse effects , Female , Heparin/adverse effects , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Thrombosis/drug therapy