Prognostic factors for severity and mortality in patients infected with COVID-19: A systematic review Academic Article uri icon

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  • Background and purpose The objective of our systematic review is to identify prognostic factors that may be used in decision-making related to the care of patients infected with COVID-19. Data sources We conducted highly sensitive searches in PubMed/MEDLINE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) and Embase. The searches covered the period from the inception date of each database until April 28, 2020. No study design, publication status or language restriction were applied. Study selection and data extraction We included studies that assessed patients with confirmed or suspected SARS-CoV-2 infectious disease and examined one or more prognostic factors for mortality or disease severity. Reviewers working in pairs independently screened studies for eligibility, extracted data and assessed the risk of bias. We performed meta-analyses and used GRADE to assess the certainty of the evidence for each prognostic factor and outcome. Results We included 207 studies and found high or moderate certainty that the following 49 variables provide valuable prognostic information on mortality and/or severe disease in patients with COVID-19 infectious disease: Demographic factors (age, male sex, smoking), patient history factors (comorbidities, cerebrovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, cardiac arrhythmia, arterial hypertension, diabetes, dementia, cancer and dyslipidemia), physical examination factors (respiratory failure, low blood pressure, hypoxemia, tachycardia, dyspnea, anorexia, tachypnea, haemoptysis, abdominal pain, fatigue, fever and myalgia or arthralgia), laboratory factors (high blood procalcitonin, myocardial injury markers, high blood White Blood Cell count (WBC), high blood lactate, low blood platelet count, plasma creatinine increase, high blood D-dimer, high blood lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), high blood C-reactive protein (CRP), decrease in lymphocyte count, high blood aspartate aminotransferase (AST), decrease in blood albumin, high blood interleukin-6 (IL-6), high blood neutrophil count, high blood B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP), high blood urea nitrogen (BUN), high blood creatine kinase (CK), high blood bilirubin and high erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)), radiological factors (consolidative infiltrate and pleural effusion) and high SOFA score (sequential organ failure assessment score). Conclusion Identified prognostic factors can help clinicians and policy makers in tailoring management strategies for patients with COVID-19 infectious disease while researchers can utilise our findings to develop multivariable prognostic models that could eventually facilitate decision-making and improve patient important outcomes. Systematic review registration Prospero registration number: CRD42020178802. Protocol available at:


  • Izcovich, Ariel
  • Ragusa, Martín Alberto
  • Tortosa, Fernando
  • Lavena Marzio, María Andrea
  • Agnoletti, Camila
  • Bengolea, Agustín
  • Ceirano, Agustina
  • Espinosa, Federico
  • Saavedra, Ezequiel
  • Sanguine, Verónica
  • Tassara, Alfredo
  • Cid, Candelaria
  • Catalano, Hugo Norberto
  • Agarwal, Arnav
  • Foroutan, Farid
  • Rada, Gabriel

publication date

  • 2020