Higher clinical acuity and 7-day hospital mortality in non-COVID-19 acute medical admissions: prospective observational study

Marcus J Lyall, Nazir I Lone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To understand the effect of COVID-19 lockdown measures on severity of illness and mortality in non-COVID-19 acute medical admissions.

DESIGN: A prospective observational study.

SETTING: 3 large acute medical receiving units in NHS Lothian, Scotland.

PARTICIPANTS: Non-COVID-19 acute admissions (n=1682) were examined over the first 31 days after the implementation of the COVID-19 lockdown policy in the UK on 23 March 2019. Patients admitted over a matched interval in the previous 5 years were used as a comparator cohort (n=14 954).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Patient demography, biochemical markers of clinical acuity and 7-day hospital inpatient mortality.

RESULTS: Non-COVID-19 acute medical admissions reduced by 44.9% across all three sites in comparison with the mean of the preceding 5 years (p<0.001). Patients arriving during this period were more likely to be male, of younger age and to arrive by emergency ambulance transport. Non-COVID-19 admissions during lockdown had a greater incidence of acute kidney injury, lactic acidaemia and an increased risk of hospital death within 7 days (4.2% vs 2.5%), which persisted after adjustment for confounders (OR 1.87, 95% CI 1.43 to 2.41, p<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate a significant reduction in non-COVID-19 acute medical admissions during the early weeks of lockdown. Patients admitted during this period were of higher clinical acuity with a higher incidence of early inpatient mortality.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEmergency Medicine Journal
Early online date3 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Mar 2021

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