Sex-specificity of mortality risk factors among hospitalized COVID-19 patients in New York City: prospective cohort study

Abstract

Objective: To identify sex-specific effects of risk factors for in-hospital mortality among COVID-19 patients admitted to a hospital system in New York City.
Design: Prospective observational cohort study with in-hospital mortality as the primary outcome.
Setting: Five acute care hospitals within a single academic medical system in New York City.
Participants: 3,086 hospital inpatients with COVID-19 admitted on or before April 13, 2020 and followed through June 2, 2020. Follow-up till discharge or death was complete for 99.3% of the cohort.
Results: The majority of the cohort was male (59.6%). Men were younger (median 64 vs. 70, p<0.001) and less likely to have comorbidities such as hypertension (32.5% vs. 39.9%, p<0.001), diabetes (22.6% vs. 26%, p=0.03), and obesity (6.9% vs. 9.8%, p=0.004) compared to women. Women had lower median values of laboratory markers associated with inflammation compared to men: white blood cells (5.95 vs. 6.8 K/uL, p<0.001), procalcitonin (0.14 vs 0.21 ng/mL, p<0.001), lactate dehydrogenase (375 vs. 428 U/L, p<0.001), C-reactive protein (87.7 vs. 123.2 mg/L, p<0.001). Unadjusted mortality was similar between men and women (28.8% vs. 28.5%, p=0.84), but more men required intensive care than women (25.2% vs. 19%, p<0.001). Male sex was an independent risk factor for mortality (OR 1.26, 95% 1.04-1.51) after adjustment for demographics, comorbidities, and baseline hypoxia. There were significant interactions between sex and coronary artery disease (p=0.038), obesity (p=0.01), baseline hypoxia (p<0.001), ferritin (p=0.002), lactate dehydrogenase (p=0.003), and procalcitonin (p=0.03). Except for procalcitonin, which had the opposite association, each of these factors was associated with disproportionately higher mortality among women.
Conclusions: Male sex was an independent predictor of mortality, consistent with prior studies. Notably, there were significant sex-specific interactions which indicated a disproportionate increase in mortality among women with coronary artery disease, obesity, and hypoxia. These new findings highlight patient subgroups for further study and help explain the recognized sex differences in COVID-19 outcomes.

Competing Interest Statement

The authors have declared no competing interest.

Funding Statement

This work was funded in part by Mount Sinai seed funding to KH.

Author Declarations

I confirm all relevant ethical guidelines have been followed, and any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained.

Yes

The details of the IRB/oversight body that provided approval or exemption for the research described are given below:

This study utilized de-identified data extracted from the electronic health record and as such was considered non-human subject research. Therefore, this study was exempted from the Mount Sinai IRB review and approval process.

All necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived.

Yes

I understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as ClinicalTrials.gov. I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance).

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I have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable.

Yes

Data Availability

Patient level data is not available for public dissemination.

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