Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2020 Dec 7;10:595333. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2020.595333. eCollection 2020.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to evaluate the factors associated with death in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 by clarifying the clinical characteristics and immune responses.
METHODS: The clinical characteristics and laboratory findings, including cytokine and lymphocyte subsets, were obtained from the electronic medical records of patients in Wuhan Tongji Hospital.
RESULTS: This study included 836 patients with confirmed COVID-19. In total, 699 (83.6%) were cured and discharged, and 137 (16.4%) died. Our analysis revealed that age ≥ 65 years, male sex, malignancy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, dyspnea, dizziness, respiratory rate > 20 bpm, heart rate > 100 bpm, systolic blood pressure < 90 mmHg, neutrophils > 6.3×109/L, lymphopenia, thrombocytopenia, D-dimer ≥ 0.5 mg/L, lactate dehydrogenase > 250 U/L, aspartate aminotransferase > 40 U/L, total bilirubin > 26 μmol/L, albumin < 35 g/L, blood urea nitrogen > 9.5 mmol/L, estimated glomerular filtration rate < 90 ml/min/1.73, elevated cardiac troponin I, N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide ≥ 900 pg/ml, C-reactive protein ≥ 25 mg/L, procalcitonin ≥ 0.05 ng/ml and ferritin > 400 μg/L were associated with death in patients with COVID-19. The multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that an estimated glomerular filtration rate < 90 ml/min/1.73, elevated cardiac troponin I, C-reactive protein ≥ 25 mg/L and procalcitonin ≥ 0.05 ng/ml were predictive of mortality. Regarding immune responses, IL-2R, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and TNFα were remarkably higher in the deceased group at admission, and the levels of IL-2R, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and TNFα in the deceased group showed a rapid increase; the dynamics of these cytokines were highly consistent with disease deterioration. Lymphocyte subset analysis revealed that the deceased patients showed significant decreases in lymphocyte counts, especially helper T cells, suppressor T cells and NK cells.
CONCLUSIONS: This study identified that an estimated glomerular filtration rate < 90 ml/min/1.73, elevated cardiac troponin I, C-reactive protein ≥ 25 mg/L and procalcitonin ≥ 0.05 ng/ml were predictors of mortality in COVID-19 patients. Elevated cytokine levels and a continued increasing trend, including in IL-2R, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10 and TNFα, and a decrease in lymphocyte subsets, especially helper T cells, suppressor T cells and NK cells, were associated with a poor prognosis.