In a major study on Covid-19 patients, researchers have confirmed that cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease, stroke and cancer can increase a patient’s risk of dying from the virus.
The findings, published in the journal PLOS ONE, may help public health officials improve patient care and develop interventions that can target these high-risk populations.
The researchers found that cardiovascular disease may double a patient’s risk of dying from Covid-19.
They also discovered that other pre-existing conditions may increase a Covid-19 patient’s risk of death by one-and-a-half to three times.
“This study suggests that these chronic conditions are not just common in patients with Covid-19, but their presence is a warning sign to a higher risk of death,” said study author Paddy Ssentongo from the Penn State University in the US.
The research team conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies to determine which chronic conditions put hospitalized patients at risk of dying from Covid-19.
They explored 11 co-existing conditions that pose a risk of severe disease and death among Covid-19 patients, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, asthma, chronic liver disease and HIV/AIDS.
They analysed data from more than 65,000 patients from 25 studies worldwide. Patients in the selected studies had an average age of 61 years.
They found that certain pre-existing health conditions affected survival rates more than others.
Researchers determined that patients with diabetes and cancer are 1.5 times more likely to die, patients with cardiovascular disease, hypertension and congestive heart failure are twice as likely to die, and patients with chronic kidney disease are three times more likely to die.
The researchers said that prior studies exploring the association of pre-existing chronic conditions and Covid-19 mortality had limitations in the number of countries included.
Even though additional research is needed to fully understand health risks and implications, the authors said that these findings can help inform global prevention and treatment strategies.
“As the Covid-19 pandemic continues through 2020 and likely into 2021, we expect that other researchers will build on our work,” they wrote.