BMC Geriatr. 2021 Mar 31;21(1):219. doi: 10.1186/s12877-021-02158-1.
BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a pandemic infection with substantial risk of death, especially in elderly persons. Information about the prognostic significance of functional status in older patients with COVID-19 is scarce.
METHODS: Demographic, clinical, laboratory and short-term mortality data were collected of 186 consecutive patients aged ≥ 65 years hospitalized with COVID-19. The data were compared between 4 study groups: (1) age 65-79 years without severe functional dependency; (2) age ≥ 80 years without severe functional dependency; (3) age 65-79 years with severe functional dependency; and (4) age ≥ 80 years with severe functional dependency. Multivariate logistic regressions were performed to evaluate the variables that were most significantly associated with mortality in the entire sample.
RESULTS: Statistically significant differences were observed between the groups in the proportions of males (p = 0.007); of patients with diabetes mellitus (p = 0.025), cerebrovascular disease (p < 0.001), renal failure (p = 0.003), dementia (p < 0.001), heart failure (p = 0.005), pressure sores (p < 0.001) and malignant disorders (p = 0.007); and of patients residing in nursing homes (p < 0.001). Compared to groups 1 (n = 69) and 2 (n = 28), patients in groups 3 (n = 32) and 4 (n = 57) presented with lower mean serum albumin levels on admission (p < 0.001), and were less often treated with convalescent plasma (p < 0.001), tocilizumab (p < 0.001) and remdesivir (p < 0.001). The overall mortality rate was 23.1 %. The mortality rate was higher in group 4 than in groups 1 - 3: 45.6 % vs. 8.7 %, 17.9% and 18.3 %, respectively (p < 0.001). On multivariate analysis, both age ≥ 80 years and severe functional dependency were among the variables most significantly associated with mortality in the entire cohort (odds ratio [OR] 4.83, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 1.88 - 12.40, p < 0.001 and OR 2.51, 95 % CI 1.02 - 6.15, p = 0.044, respectively). Age ≥ 80 years with severe functional dependency (group 4) remained one of the variables most significantly associated with mortality (OR 10.42, 95 % CI 3.27-33.24 and p < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Among patients with COVID-19, the association of severe functional dependency with mortality is stronger among those aged ≥ 80 years than aged 65-79 years. Assessment of functional status may contribute to decision making for care of older inpatients with COVID-19.