Risk factors for Covid-19 severity and fatality: a structured literature review

Link to article at PubMed

Infection. 2021 Feb;49(1):15-28. doi: 10.1007/s15010-020-01509-1. Epub 2020 Aug 28.


PURPOSE: Covid-19 is a global threat that pushes health care to its limits. Since there is neither a vaccine nor a drug for Covid-19, people with an increased risk for severe and fatal courses of disease particularly need protection. Furthermore, factors increasing these risks are of interest in the search of potential treatments. A systematic literature review on the risk factors of severe and fatal Covid-19 courses is presented.

METHODS: The review is carried out on PubMed and a publicly available preprint dataset. For analysis, risk factors are categorized and information regarding the study such as study size and location are extracted. The results are compared to risk factors listed by four public authorities from different countries.

RESULTS: The 28 records included, eleven of which are preprints, indicate that conditions and comorbidities connected to a poor state of health such as high age, obesity, diabetes and hypertension are risk factors for severe and fatal disease courses. Furthermore, severe and fatal courses are associated with organ damages mainly affecting the heart, liver and kidneys. Coagulation dysfunctions could play a critical role in the organ damaging. Time to hospital admission, tuberculosis, inflammation disorders and coagulation dysfunctions are identified as risk factors found in the review but not mentioned by the public authorities.

CONCLUSION: Factors associated with increased risk of severe or fatal disease courses were identified, which include conditions connected with a poor state of health as well as organ damages and coagulation dysfunctions. The results may facilitate upcoming Covid-19 research.

PMID:32860214 | PMC:PMC7453858 | DOI:10.1007/s15010-020-01509-1

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