Chronic degenerative conditions as risk factors for lethal COVID-19

Ángeles Correa et al.


To determine the relative risk of a lethal outcome associated with chronic degenerative conditions in patients with COVID-19.


A cohort study was conducted using electronic medical records belonging to patients who tested positive for COVID-19 on RT-PCR while receiving care as outpatients or inpatients in a social security system facility between March 2020 and March 2021. Two study groups were formed. The exposed group was divided into four subgroups, each of which was diagnosed with one and only one chronic condition (diabetes, hypertension, obesity, or chronic kidney disease); the unexposed group was obtained from the medical records of patients without comorbidities. A total of 1 114 medical records were examined using simple random sampling. Once the minimum sample size was reached, the relative risk was calculated for each chronic condition. Combinations of two, three, and four conditions were created, and each of them was included in the analysis.


In the absence of a chronic degenerative condition, the prevalence of a lethal outcome from COVID-19 is 3.8%; in the presence of type 2 diabetes mellitus, 15.8%; in the presence of arterial hypertension, 15.6%; and in the presence of obesity, 15.0%. For diabetes and hypertension combined, the prevalence of a lethal outcome is 54.1%; for diabetes and obesity combined, 36.8%, and for obesity and hypertension combined, 28.1%.


In patients with COVID-19, the relative risk of a lethal outcome is 4.17 for those with diabetes, 4.13 for those with hypertension, and 3.96 for those with obesity. For two chronic conditions combined, the relative risk doubles or triples. The relative risk of a lethal outcome is 14.27 for diabetes plus hypertension; 9.73 for diabetes plus obesity, and 7.43 for obesity plus hypertension. Chronic conditions do not present alone; they generally occur together, hence the significance of the relative risks for lethal outcomes presented in this paper.

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