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Age differences in the association of comorbid burden with adverse outcomes in SARS-CoV-2.

O'Hare AM, Berry K, Fan VS, Crothers K, Eastment MC, Dominitz JA, Shah JA, Green P, Locke E, Ioannou GN. Age differences in the association of comorbid burden with adverse outcomes in SARS-CoV-2. BMC geriatrics. 2021 Jul 6; 21(1):415.

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BACKGROUND: Older age and comorbid burden are both associated with adverse outcomes in SARS-CoV-2, but it is not known whether the association between comorbid burden and adverse outcomes differs in older and younger adults. OBJECTIVE: To compare the relationship between comorbid burden and adverse outcomes in adults with SARS-CoV-2 of different ages (18-64, 65-79 and? = 80?years). DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Observational longitudinal cohort study of 170,528 patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System between 2/28/20 and 12/31/2020 who were followed through 01/31/2021. MEASUREMENTS: Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI); Incidence of hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, mechanical ventilation, and death within 30?days of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test. RESULTS: The cumulative 30-day incidence of death was 0.8% in cohort members < 65?years, 7.1% in those aged 65-79?years and 20.6% in those aged = 80?years. The respective 30-day incidences of hospitalization were 8.2, 21.7 and 29.5%, of ICU admission were 2.7, 8.6, and 11% and of mechanical ventilation were 1, 3.9 and 3.2%. Median CCI (interquartile range) ranged from 0.0 (0.0, 2.0) in the youngest, to 4 (2.0, 7.0) in the oldest age group. The adjusted association of CCI with all outcomes was attenuated at older ages such that the threshold level of CCI above which the risk for each outcome exceeded the reference group (1st quartile) was lower in younger than in older cohort members (p  < 0.001 for all age group interactions). LIMITATIONS: The CCI is calculated based on diagnostic codes, which may not provide an accurate assessment of comorbid burden. CONCLUSIONS: Age differences in the distribution and prognostic significance of overall comorbid burden could inform clinical management, vaccination prioritization and population health during the pandemic and argue for more work to understand the role of age and comorbidity in shaping the care of hospitalized patients with SARS-CoV-2.

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