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medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.09.13.22279868


Importance The COVID-19 pandemic had a substantial impact on the overall rate of death in the United States during the first year. It is unclear whether access to comprehensive medical care, such as through the VA healthcare system, altered death rates compared to the US population. Objective: Quantify the increase in death rates during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in the general US population and among individuals who receive comprehensive medical care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Design: Analysis of changes in all-cause death rates by quarter, stratified by age, sex race/ethnicity, and region, based on individual-level data. Hierarchical regression models were fit in a Bayesian setting. Standardized rates were used for comparison between populations. Setting and participants: General population of the United States, enrollees in the VA, and active users of VA healthcare. Exposure and main outcome: Changes in rates of death from any cause during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 compared to previous years. Results Sharp increases were apparent across all of the adult age groups (25 years and older) in both the general US population and the VA populations. Across all of 2020, the relative increase in death rates was similar in the general US population (RR: 1.20 (95% CI: 1.17, 1.22)), VA enrollees (RR: 1.20 (95% CI: 1.14, 1.29)), and VA active users (RR: 1.19 (95% CI: 1.14, 1.26)). Because the pre-pandemic standardized mortality rates were higher in the VA populations prior to the pandemic, the absolute rates of excess mortality were higher in the VA populations. Conclusions and Relevance: Despite access to comprehensive medical care, active users of the VA had similar relative mortality increases from all causes compared with the general US population. Factors that influenced baseline rates of death and that mitigated viral transmission in the community are more likely to have influenced the impact of the pandemic.

medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.01.01.20249069


BackgroundThe Veterans Health Administration COVID-19 (VACO) Index incorporates age, sex, and pre-existing comorbidity diagnoses readily available in the electronic health record (EHR) to predict 30-day all-cause mortality in both inpatients and outpatients infected with SARS-CoV-2. We examined the performance of the Index using data from Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH) and national Medicare data overall, over time, and within important patient subgroups. Methods and findingsWith measures and weights previously derived and validated in a national Veterans Healthcare Administration (VA) sample, we evaluated the accuracy of the VACO Index for estimating inpatient (YNHH) and both inpatient and outpatient mortality (Medicare) using area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) and comparisons of predicted versus observed mortality by decile (calibration plots). The VACO Index demonstrated similar discrimination and calibration in both settings, over time, and among important patient subgroups including women, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans. In sensitivity analyses, we allowed component variables to be re-weighted in the validation datasets and found that weights were largely consistent with those determined in VA data. Supplementing the VACO Index with body mass index and race/ethnicity had no effect on discrimination. ConclusionAmong COVID-19 positive individuals, the VACO Index accurately estimates risk of short-term mortality among a wide variety of patients. While it modestly over-estimates risk in recent intervals, the Index consistently identifies those at greatest relative risk. The VACO Index could identify individuals who should continue practicing social distancing, help determine who should be prioritized for vaccination, and among outpatients who test positive for SARS-CoV-2, indicate who should receive greater clinical attention or monoclonal antibodies.

medrxiv; 2020.
Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.12.09.20246579


ImportanceDeaths among patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are partially attributed to venous thromboembolism and arterial thromboses. Anticoagulants prevent thrombosis formation, possess anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties, and may be particularly effective for treating patients with COVID-19. ObjectiveTo evaluate whether initiation of prophylactic anticoagulation within 24 hours of admission is associated with decreased risk of death among patients hospitalized with COVID-19. DesignObservational cohort study. SettingNationwide cohort of patients receiving care in the Department of Veterans Affairs, the largest integrated healthcare system in the United States. ParticipantsAll patients hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection March 1 to July 31, 2020, without a history of therapeutic anticoagulation. ExposuresProphylactic doses of subcutaneous heparin, low-molecular-weight heparin, or direct oral anticoagulants. Main Outcomes and Measures30-day mortality. Secondary outcomes: inpatient mortality and initiating therapeutic anticoagulation. ResultsOf 4,297 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, 3,627 (84.4%) received prophylactic anticoagulation within 24 hours of admission. More than 99% (n=3,600) received subcutaneous heparin or enoxaparin. We observed 622 deaths within 30 days of admission, 513 among those who received prophylactic anticoagulation. Most deaths (510/622, 82%) occurred during hospitalization. In inverse probability of treatment weighted analyses, cumulative adjusted incidence of mortality at 30 days was 14.3% (95% CI 13.1-15.5) among those receiving prophylactic anticoagulation and 18.7% (95% CI 15.1-22.9) among those who did not. Compared to patients who did not receive prophylactic anticoagulation, those who did had a 27% decreased risk for 30-day mortality (HR 0.73, 95% CI 0.66-0.81). Similar associations were found for inpatient mortality and initiating therapeutic anticoagulation. Quantitative bias analysis demonstrated that results were robust to unmeasured confounding (e-value lower 95% CI 1.77). Results persisted in a number of sensitivity analyses. Conclusions and RelevanceEarly initiation of prophylactic anticoagulation among patients hospitalized with COVID-19 was associated with a decreased risk of mortality. These findings provide strong real-world evidence to support guidelines recommending the use of prophylactic anticoagulation as initial therapy for COVID-19 patients upon hospital admission.

medrxiv; 2020.
Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.05.12.20099135


Background: There is growing concern that racial and ethnic minority communities around the world are experiencing a disproportionate burden of morbidity and mortality from symptomatic SARS-Cov-2 infection or coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). Most studies investigating racial and ethnic disparities to date have focused on hospitalized patients or have not characterized who received testing or those who tested positive for Covid-19. Objective: To compare patterns of testing and test results for coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) and subsequent mortality by race and ethnicity in the largest integrated healthcare system in the United States. Design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting: United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Participants: 5,834,543 individuals in care, among whom 62,098 were tested and 5,630 tested positive for Covid-19 between February 8 and May 4, 2020. Exposures: Self-reported race/ethnicity. Main outcome measures: We evaluated associations between race/ethnicity and receipt of Covid-19 testing, a positive test result, and 30-day mortality, accounting for a wide range of demographic and clinical risk factors including comorbid conditions, site of care, and urban versus rural residence. Results: Among all individuals in care, 74% were non-Hispanic white (white), 19% non-Hispanic black (black), and 7% Hispanic. Compared with white individuals, black and Hispanic individuals were more likely to be tested for Covid-19 (tests per 1000: white=9.0, [95% CI 8.9 to 9.1]; black=16.4, [16.2 to 16.7]; and Hispanic=12.2, [11.9 to 12.5]). While individuals from minority backgrounds were more likely to test positive (black vs white: OR 1.96, 95% CI 1.81 to 2.12; Hispanic vs white: OR 1.73, 95% CI 1.53 to 1.96), 30-day mortality did not differ by race/ethnicity (black vs white: OR 0.93, 95% CI 0.64 to 1.33; Hispanic vs white: OR 1.07, 95% CI 0.61 to 1.87). Conclusions: Black and Hispanic individuals are experiencing an excess burden of Covid-19 not entirely explained by underlying medical conditions or where they live or receive care. While there was no observed difference in mortality by race or ethnicity, our findings may underestimate risk in the broader US population as health disparities tend to be reduced in VA.

medrxiv; 2020.
Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.04.09.20059964


Importance: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), an evolving pandemic. Limited data are available characterizing SARS-Cov-2 infection in the United States. Objective: To determine associations between demographic and clinical factors and testing positive for coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19+), and among Covid-19+ subsequent hospitalization and intensive care. Design, Setting, and Participants: Retrospective cohort study including all patients tested for Covid-19 between February 8 and March 30, 2020, inclusive. We extracted electronic health record data from the national Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, the largest integrated healthcare system in the United States, on 2,026,227 patients born between 1945 and 1965 and active in care. Exposures: Demographic data, comorbidities, medication history, substance use, vital signs, and laboratory measures. Laboratory tests were analyzed first individually and then grouped into a validated summary measure of physiologic injury (VACS Index). Main Outcomes and Measures: We evaluated which factors were associated with Covid-19+ among all who tested. Among Covid-19+ we identified factors associated with hospitalization or intensive care. We identified independent associations using multivariable and conditional multivariable logistic regression with multiple imputation of missing values. Results: Among Veterans aged 54-75 years, 585/3,789 (15.4%) tested Covid-19+. In adjusted analysis (C-statistic=0.806) black race was associated with Covid-19+ (OR 4.68, 95% CI 3.79-5.78) and the association remained in analyses conditional on site (OR 2.56, 95% CI 1.89-3.46). In adjusted models, laboratory abnormalities (especially fibrosis-4 score [FIB-4] >3.25 OR 8.73, 95% CI 4.11-18.56), and VACS Index (per 5-point increase OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.43-1.84) were strongly associated with hospitalization. Associations were similar for intensive care. Although significant in unadjusted analyses, associations with comorbid conditions and medications were substantially reduced and, in most cases, no longer significant after adjustment. Conclusions and Relevance: Black race was strongly associated with Covid-19+, but not with hospitalization or intensive care. Among Covid-19+, risk of hospitalization and intensive care may be better characterized by laboratory measures and vital signs than by comorbid conditions or prior medication exposure.

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