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1.
BMJ Open ; 12(7): e059385, 2022 07 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1923249

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: COVID-19 is commonly experienced as an acute illness, yet some people continue to have symptoms that persist for weeks, or months (commonly referred to as 'long-COVID'). It remains unclear which patients are at highest risk of developing long-COVID. In this protocol, we describe plans to develop a prediction model to identify individuals at risk of developing long-COVID. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We will use the national Early Pandemic Evaluation and Enhanced Surveillance of COVID-19 (EAVE II) platform, a population-level linked dataset of routine electronic healthcare data from 5.4 million individuals in Scotland. We will identify potential indicators for long-COVID by identifying patterns in primary care data linked to information from out-of-hours general practitioner encounters, accident and emergency visits, hospital admissions, outpatient visits, medication prescribing/dispensing and mortality. We will investigate the potential indicators of long-COVID by performing a matched analysis between those with a positive reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) test for SARS-CoV-2 infection and two control groups: (1) individuals with at least one negative RT-PCR test and never tested positive; (2) the general population (everyone who did not test positive) of Scotland. Cluster analysis will then be used to determine the final definition of the outcome measure for long-COVID. We will then derive, internally and externally validate a prediction model to identify the epidemiological risk factors associated with long-COVID. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The EAVE II study has obtained approvals from the Research Ethics Committee (reference: 12/SS/0201), and the Public Benefit and Privacy Panel for Health and Social Care (reference: 1920-0279). Study findings will be published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at conferences. Understanding the predictors for long-COVID and identifying the patient groups at greatest risk of persisting symptoms will inform future treatments and preventative strategies for long-COVID.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Hospitalization , Humans , Observational Studies as Topic , SARS-CoV-2
2.
J R Soc Med ; : 1410768221095239, 2022 May 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1820012

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: COVID-19 has resulted in the greatest disruption to National Health Service (NHS) care in its over 70-year history. Building on our previous work, we assessed the ongoing impact of pandemic-related disruption on provision of emergency and elective hospital-based care across Scotland over the first year of the pandemic. DESIGN: We undertook interrupted time-series analyses to evaluate the impact of ongoing pandemic-related disruption on hospital NHS care provision at national level and across demographics and clinical specialties spanning the period 29 March 2020-28 March 2021. SETTING: Scotland, UK. PARTICIPANTS: Patients receiving hospital care from NHS Scotland. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: We used the percentage change of accident and emergency attendances, and emergency and planned hospital admissions during the pandemic compared to the average admission rate for equivalent weeks in 2018-2019. RESULTS: As restrictions were gradually lifted in Scotland after the first lockdown, hospital-based admissions increased approaching pre-pandemic levels. Subsequent tightening of restrictions in September 2020 were associated with a change in slope of relative weekly admissions rate: -1.98% (-2.38, -1.58) in accident and emergency attendance, -1.36% (-1.68, -1.04) in emergency admissions and -2.31% (-2.95, -1.66) in planned admissions. A similar pattern was seen across sex, socioeconomic status and most age groups, except children (0-14 years) where accident and emergency attendance, and emergency admissions were persistently low over the study period. CONCLUSIONS: We found substantial disruption to urgent and planned inpatient healthcare provision in hospitals across NHS Scotland. There is the need for urgent policy responses to address continuing unmet health needs and to ensure resilience in the context of future pandemics.

3.
The Lancet. Digital health ; 4(4):e220-e234, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1755949

ABSTRACT

Background Dexamethasone was the first intervention proven to reduce mortality in patients with COVID-19 being treated in hospital. We aimed to evaluate the adoption of corticosteroids in the treatment of COVID-19 in the UK after the RECOVERY trial publication on June 16, 2020, and to identify discrepancies in care. Methods We did an audit of clinical implementation of corticosteroids in a prospective, observational, cohort study in 237 UK acute care hospitals between March 16, 2020, and April 14, 2021, restricted to patients aged 18 years or older with proven or high likelihood of COVID-19, who received supplementary oxygen. The primary outcome was administration of dexamethasone, prednisolone, hydrocortisone, or methylprednisolone. This study is registered with ISRCTN, ISRCTN66726260. Findings Between June 17, 2020, and April 14, 2021, 47 795 (75·2%) of 63 525 of patients on supplementary oxygen received corticosteroids, higher among patients requiring critical care than in those who received ward care (11 185 [86·6%] of 12 909 vs 36 415 [72·4%] of 50 278). Patients 50 years or older were significantly less likely to receive corticosteroids than those younger than 50 years (adjusted odds ratio 0·79 [95% CI 0·70–0·89], p=0·0001, for 70–79 years;0·52 [0·46–0·58], p<0·0001, for >80 years), independent of patient demographics and illness severity. 84 (54·2%) of 155 pregnant women received corticosteroids. Rates of corticosteroid administration increased from 27·5% in the week before June 16, 2020, to 75–80% in January, 2021. Interpretation Implementation of corticosteroids into clinical practice in the UK for patients with COVID-19 has been successful, but not universal. Patients older than 70 years, independent of illness severity, chronic neurological disease, and dementia, were less likely to receive corticosteroids than those who were younger, as were pregnant women. This could reflect appropriate clinical decision making, but the possibility of inequitable access to life-saving care should be considered. Funding UK National Institute for Health Research and UK Medical Research Council.

4.
Wellcome Open Res ; 6: 21, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1497928

ABSTRACT

Preterm birth is the leading cause of infant death worldwide, but the causes of preterm birth are largely unknown. During the early COVID-19 lockdowns, dramatic reductions in preterm birth were reported; however, these trends may be offset by increases in stillbirth rates. It is important to study these trends globally as the pandemic continues, and to understand the underlying cause(s). Lockdowns have dramatically impacted maternal workload, access to healthcare, hygiene practices, and air pollution - all of which could impact perinatal outcomes and might affect pregnant women differently in different regions of the world. In the international Perinatal Outcomes in the Pandemic (iPOP) Study, we will seize the unique opportunity offered by the COVID-19 pandemic to answer urgent questions about perinatal health. In the first two study phases, we will use population-based aggregate data and standardized outcome definitions to: 1) Determine rates of preterm birth, low birth weight, and stillbirth and describe changes during lockdowns; and assess if these changes are consistent globally, or differ by region and income setting, 2) Determine if the magnitude of changes in adverse perinatal outcomes during lockdown are modified by regional differences in COVID-19 infection rates, lockdown stringency, adherence to lockdown measures, air quality, or other social and economic markers, obtained from publicly available datasets. We will undertake an interrupted time series analysis covering births from January 2015 through July 2020. The iPOP Study will involve at least 121 researchers in 37 countries, including obstetricians, neonatologists, epidemiologists, public health researchers, environmental scientists, and policymakers. We will leverage the most disruptive and widespread "natural experiment" of our lifetime to make rapid discoveries about preterm birth. Whether the COVID-19 pandemic is worsening or unexpectedly improving perinatal outcomes, our research will provide critical new information to shape prenatal care strategies throughout (and well beyond) the pandemic.

5.
Lancet Respir Med ; 9(12): 1439-1449, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440430

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The UK COVID-19 vaccination programme has prioritised vaccination of those at the highest risk of COVID-19 mortality and hospitalisation. The programme was rolled out in Scotland during winter 2020-21, when SARS-CoV-2 infection rates were at their highest since the pandemic started, despite social distancing measures being in place. We aimed to estimate the frequency of COVID-19 hospitalisation or death in people who received at least one vaccine dose and characterise these individuals. METHODS: We conducted a prospective cohort study using the Early Pandemic Evaluation and Enhanced Surveillance of COVID-19 (EAVE II) national surveillance platform, which contained linked vaccination, primary care, RT-PCR testing, hospitalisation, and mortality records for 5·4 million people (around 99% of the population) in Scotland. Individuals were followed up from receiving their first dose of the BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (Oxford-AstraZeneca) COVID-19 vaccines until admission to hospital for COVID-19, death, or the end of the study period on April 18, 2021. We used a time-dependent Poisson regression model to estimate rate ratios (RRs) for demographic and clinical factors associated with COVID-19 hospitalisation or death 14 days or more after the first vaccine dose, stratified by vaccine type. FINDINGS: Between Dec 8, 2020, and April 18, 2021, 2 572 008 individuals received their first dose of vaccine-841 090 (32·7%) received BNT162b2 and 1 730 918 (67·3%) received ChAdOx1. 1196 (<0·1%) individuals were admitted to hospital or died due to COVID-19 illness (883 hospitalised, of whom 228 died, and 313 who died due to COVID-19 without hospitalisation) 14 days or more after their first vaccine dose. These severe COVID-19 outcomes were associated with older age (≥80 years vs 18-64 years adjusted RR 4·75, 95% CI 3·85-5·87), comorbidities (five or more risk groups vs less than five risk groups 4·24, 3·34-5·39), hospitalisation in the previous 4 weeks (3·00, 2·47-3·65), high-risk occupations (ten or more previous COVID-19 tests vs less than ten previous COVID-19 tests 2·14, 1·62-2·81), care home residence (1·63, 1·32-2·02), socioeconomic deprivation (most deprived quintile vs least deprived quintile 1·57, 1·30-1·90), being male (1·27, 1·13-1·43), and being an ex-smoker (ex-smoker vs non-smoker 1·18, 1·01-1·38). A history of COVID-19 before vaccination was protective (0·40, 0·29-0·54). INTERPRETATION: COVID-19 hospitalisations and deaths were uncommon 14 days or more after the first vaccine dose in this national analysis in the context of a high background incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection and with extensive social distancing measures in place. Sociodemographic and clinical features known to increase the risk of severe disease in unvaccinated populations were also associated with severe outcomes in people receiving their first dose of vaccine and could help inform case management and future vaccine policy formulation. FUNDING: UK Research and Innovation (Medical Research Council), Research and Innovation Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, Scottish Government, and Health Data Research UK.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Female , Hospitals , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Scotland/epidemiology , Vaccination , Young Adult
7.
Lancet Respir Med ; 9(7): 773-785, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1337040

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Mortality rates in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 in the UK appeared to decline during the first wave of the pandemic. We aimed to quantify potential drivers of this change and identify groups of patients who remain at high risk of dying in hospital. METHODS: In this multicentre prospective observational cohort study, the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infections Consortium WHO Clinical Characterisation Protocol UK recruited a prospective cohort of patients with COVID-19 admitted to 247 acute hospitals in England, Scotland, and Wales during the first wave of the pandemic (between March 9 and Aug 2, 2020). We included all patients aged 18 years and older with clinical signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or confirmed COVID-19 (by RT-PCR test) from assumed community-acquired infection. We did a three-way decomposition mediation analysis using natural effects models to explore associations between week of admission and in-hospital mortality, adjusting for confounders (demographics, comorbidities, and severity of illness) and quantifying potential mediators (level of respiratory support and steroid treatment). The primary outcome was weekly in-hospital mortality at 28 days, defined as the proportion of patients who had died within 28 days of admission of all patients admitted in the observed week, and it was assessed in all patients with an outcome. This study is registered with the ISRCTN Registry, ISRCTN66726260. FINDINGS: Between March 9, and Aug 2, 2020, we recruited 80 713 patients, of whom 63 972 were eligible and included in the study. Unadjusted weekly in-hospital mortality declined from 32·3% (95% CI 31·8-32·7) in March 9 to April 26, 2020, to 16·4% (15·0-17·8) in June 15 to Aug 2, 2020. Reductions in mortality were observed in all age groups, in all ethnic groups, for both sexes, and in patients with and without comorbidities. After adjustment, there was a 32% reduction in the risk of mortality per 7-week period (odds ratio [OR] 0·68 [95% CI 0·65-0·71]). The higher proportions of patients with severe disease and comorbidities earlier in the first wave (March and April) than in June and July accounted for 10·2% of this reduction. The use of respiratory support changed during the first wave, with gradually increased use of non-invasive ventilation over the first wave. Changes in respiratory support and use of steroids accounted for 22·2%, OR 0·95 (0·94-0·95) of the reduction in in-hospital mortality. INTERPRETATION: The reduction in in-hospital mortality in patients with COVID-19 during the first wave in the UK was partly accounted for by changes in the case-mix and illness severity. A significant reduction in in-hospital mortality was associated with differences in respiratory support and critical care use, which could partly reflect accrual of clinical knowledge. The remaining improvement in in-hospital mortality is not explained by these factors, and could be associated with changes in community behaviour, inoculum dose, and hospital capacity strain. FUNDING: National Institute for Health Research and the Medical Research Council.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Hospital Mortality , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/epidemiology , Clinical Protocols , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies , United Kingdom/epidemiology , World Health Organization
9.
J R Soc Med ; 113(11): 444-453, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-814346

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Following the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus and the subsequent global spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), health systems and the populations who use them have faced unprecedented challenges. We aimed to measure the impact of COVID-19 on the uptake of hospital-based care at a national level. DESIGN: The study period (weeks ending 5 January to 28 June 2020) encompassed the pandemic announcement by the World Health Organization and the initiation of the UK lockdown. We undertook an interrupted time-series analysis to evaluate the impact of these events on hospital services at a national level and across demographics, clinical specialties and National Health Service Health Boards. SETTING: Scotland, UK. PARTICIPANTS: Patients receiving hospital care from National Health Service Scotland. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Accident and emergency (A&E) attendances, and emergency and planned hospital admissions measured using the relative change of weekly counts in 2020 to the averaged counts for equivalent weeks in 2018 and 2019. RESULTS: Before the pandemic announcement, the uptake of hospital care was largely consistent with historical levels. This was followed by sharp drops in all outcomes until UK lockdown, where activity began to steadily increase. This time-period saw an average reduction of -40.7% (95% confidence interval [CI]: -47.7 to -33.7) in A&E attendances, -25.8% (95% CI: -31.1 to -20.4) in emergency hospital admissions and -60.9% (95% CI: -66.1 to -55.7) in planned hospital admissions, in comparison to the 2018-2019 averages. All subgroup trends were broadly consistent within outcomes, but with notable variations across age groups, specialties and geography. CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 has had a profoundly disruptive impact on hospital-based care across National Health Service Scotland. This has likely led to an adverse effect on non-COVID-19-related illnesses, increasing the possibility of potentially avoidable morbidity and mortality. Further research is required to elucidate these impacts.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Emergency Service, Hospital/trends , Interrupted Time Series Analysis , Patient Admission/trends , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/therapy , Female , Humans , Male , Organizational Innovation , Patient Admission/statistics & numerical data , Scotland , State Medicine
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