Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Risk Factors for Hospitalization, Mechanical Ventilation, or Death Among 10 131 US Veterans With SARS-CoV-2 Infection.

Ioannou GN, Locke E, Green P, Berry K, O'Hare AM, Shah JA, Crothers K, Eastment MC, Dominitz JA, Fan VS. Risk Factors for Hospitalization, Mechanical Ventilation, or Death Among 10 131 US Veterans With SARS-CoV-2 Infection. JAMA Network Open. 2020 Sep 1; 3(9):e2022310.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


Importance: Identifying independent risk factors for adverse outcomes in patients infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can support prognostication, resource utilization, and treatment. Objective: To identify excess risk and risk factors associated with hospitalization, mechanical ventilation, and mortality in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Design, Setting, and Participants: This longitudinal cohort study included 88 747 patients tested for SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid by polymerase chain reaction between Feburary 28 and May 14, 2020, and followed up through June 22, 2020, in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national health care system, including 10 131 patients (11.4%) who tested positive. Exposures: Sociodemographic characteristics, comorbid conditions, symptoms, and laboratory test results. Main Outcomes and Measures: Risk of hospitalization, mechanical ventilation, and death were estimated in time-to-event analyses using Cox proportional hazards models. Results: The 10 131 veterans with SARS-CoV-2 were predominantly male (9221 [91.0%]), with diverse race/ethnicity (5022 [49.6%] White, 4215 [41.6%] Black, and 944 [9.3%] Hispanic) and a mean (SD) age of 63.6 (16.2) years. Compared with patients who tested negative for SARS-CoV-2, those who tested positive had higher rates of 30-day hospitalization (30.4% vs 29.3%; adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.13; 95% CI, 1.08-1.13), mechanical ventilation (6.7% vs 1.7%; aHR, 4.15; 95% CI, 3.74-4.61), and death (10.8% vs 2.4%; aHR, 4.44; 95% CI, 4.07-4.83). Among patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, characteristics significantly associated with mortality included older age (eg, 80 years vs < 50 years: aHR, 60.80; 95% CI, 29.67-124.61), high regional COVID-19 disease burden (eg, 700 vs < 130 deaths per 1 million residents: aHR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.02-1.45), higher Charlson comorbidity index score (eg, 5 vs 0: aHR, 1.93; 95% CI, 1.54-2.42), fever (aHR, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.32-1.72), dyspnea (aHR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.53-2.07), and abnormalities in the certain blood tests, which exhibited dose-response associations with mortality, including aspartate aminotransferase ( > 89 U/L vs 25 U/L: aHR, 1.86; 95% CI, 1.35-2.57), creatinine ( > 3.80 mg/dL vs 0.98 mg/dL: aHR, 3.79; 95% CI, 2.62-5.48), and neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio ( > 12.70 vs 2.71: aHR, 2.88; 95% CI, 2.12-3.91). With the exception of geographic region, the same covariates were independently associated with mechanical ventilation along with Black race (aHR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.25-1.85), male sex (aHR, 2.07; 95% CI, 1.30-3.32), diabetes (aHR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.18-1.67), and hypertension (aHR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.03-1.64). Notable characteristics that were not significantly associated with mortality in adjusted analyses included obesity (body mass index 35 vs 18.5-24.9: aHR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.77-1.21), Black race (aHR, 1.04; 95% CI, 0.88-1.21), Hispanic ethnicity (aHR, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.79-1.35), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (aHR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.88-1.19), hypertension (aHR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.81-1.12), and smoking (eg, current vs never: aHR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.67-1.13). Most deaths in this cohort occurred in patients with age of 50 years or older (63.4%), male sex (12.3%), and Charlson Comorbidity Index score of at least 1 (11.1%). Conclusions and Relevance: In this national cohort of VA patients, most SARS-CoV-2 deaths were associated with older age, male sex, and comorbidity burden. Many factors previously reported to be associated with mortality in smaller studies were not confirmed, such as obesity, Black race, Hispanic ethnicity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, and smoking.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.