Infect Dis Rep. 2021 Mar 18;13(1):239-250. doi: 10.3390/idr13010027.
As Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) hospitalization rates remain high, there is an urgent need to identify prognostic factors to improve patient outcomes. Existing prognostic models mostly consider the impact of biomarkers at presentation on the risk of a single patient outcome at a single follow up time. We collected data for 553 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)-positive COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital whose eventual outcomes were known. The data collected for the patients included demographics, comorbidities and laboratory values taken at admission and throughout the course of hospitalization. We trained multivariate Markov prognostic models to identify high-risk patients at admission along with a dynamic measure of risk incorporating time-dependent changes in patients' laboratory values. From the set of factors available upon admission, the Markov model determined that age >80 years, history of coronary artery disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease increased mortality risk. The lab values upon admission most associated with mortality included neutrophil percentage, red blood cells (RBC), red cell distribution width (RDW), protein levels, platelets count, albumin levels and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC). Incorporating dynamic changes in lab values throughout hospitalization lead to dramatic gains in the predictive accuracy of the model and indicated a catalogue of variables for determining high-risk patients including eosinophil percentage, white blood cells (WBC), platelets, pCO2, RDW, large unstained cells (LUC) count, alkaline phosphatase and albumin. Our prognostic model highlights the nuance of determining risk for COVID-19 patients and indicates that, rather than a single variable, a range of factors (at different points in hospitalization) are needed for effective risk stratification.