Characterisation of in-hospital complications associated with COVID-19 using the ISARIC WHO Clinical Characterisation Protocol UK: A prospective, multicentre cohort study

Thomas Drake, Aya M Riad , Cameron J Fairfield, Conor Egan, Stephen Knight, Riinu Pius, Hayley E Hardwick, Lisa Norman, Katie Shaw, Kenneth Mclean, Annemarie B Docherty, Ewen M Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

COVID-19 is a multi-system disease and patients who survive may experience in-hospital complications. These complications are likely to have important short and long-term consequences for patients, healthcare utilisation, healthcare system preparedness, and society amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Our aim was to characterise the extent and impact of COVID-19 complications, particularly in those who survive using the International Severe Acute Respiratory and emerging Infections Consortium (ISARIC) WHO Clinical Characterisation Protocol UK (CCP-UK).

A multicentre, prospective cohort study in 302 UK healthcare facilities of adults hospitalised with COVID-19 between 17th January and 4th August 2020. Complications were defined as organ specific diagnoses occurring alone or in addition to any hallmarks of COVID-19 illness. Outcomes included death, critical care use, and ability to self-care at hospital discharge. We used multilevel logistic regression and survival models to explore associations between these outcomes and in-hospital complications, age, and pre-existing comorbidities.

Of patients admitted to hospital for management of COVID-19, 49.7% (36 367/73 197) experienced at least one complication. The mean age of our cohort was 71.1 years old (SD 18.7), included more males (56.0%, 41 025/73 ) with 81.0% (59 289/73 197) of patients having at least one comorbidity. Males over 60 were most likely to experience a complication (60 y and over, 54.5% [16 579/30 416] in males and 48.2% [11 707/24 288] in females; Under 60 y, 48.8% [5179/10 609] in males, 36.6% [2814/7689] in females). Renal (24.3%, 17 752/73 197), complex respiratory 18.4% (13 486/73 197), and systemic (16.3%, 11 895/73 197) complications were most frequent. Cardiovascular (12.3%, 8973/73 197), neurological (4.3%, 3115/73 197), and gastrointestinal/liver (0.8%, 7901/73 197) complications were also reported. The presence of any complication was associated with significantly worse survival (adjusted HR 1.74, 95% CI 1.64 to 1.84) and increased admission to critical care (adjusted OR 7.25, 95% CI 6.83 to 7.69). Reduced ability to self-care at discharge was significantly greater in patients who experienced a complication (adjusted OR 2.42, 95% CI 2.31 to 2.54) and was greatest in those who experienced neurological complications (adjusted OR 4.39, 95% CI 3.95 to 4.89).

Complications and worse functional outcomes in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 are high, even in young, previously healthy individuals. Acute complications are associated with reduced ability to self-care at discharge, with neurological complications being associated with the worst functional outcomes. COVID-19 complications are likely to cause significant strain on health and social care in the coming years. These data will help in the design and provision of services aimed at the post-hospitalisation care of patients with COVID-19.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Lancet
Issue number10296
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2021


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