Xu H, Garcia-Ptacek S, Annetorp M, Cederholm T, Engel G, Engström M, Erlandsson H, Julius C, Kivipelto M, Lundberg LG, Metzner C, Sandberg L, Nyvang JS, Öberg CS, Åkesson E, Religa D, Eriksdotter M
J Am Med Dir Assoc - (-) - [2021-06-12; online 2021-06-12]
To describe temporal changes in treatment, care, and short-term mortality outcomes of geriatric patients during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Observational study. Altogether 1785 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and 6744 hospitalized for non-COVID-19 causes at 7 geriatric clinics in Stockholm from March 6 to July 31, 2020, were included. Across admission month, patient vital signs and pharmacological treatment in relationship to risk for in-hospital death were analyzed using the Poisson regression model. Incidence rates (IRs) and incidence rate ratios (IRRs) of death are presented. In patients with COVID-19, the IR of mortality were 27%, 17%, 10%, 8%, and 2% from March to July, respectively, after standardization for demographics and vital signs. Compared with patients admitted in March, the risk of in-hospital death decreased by 29% [IRR 0.71, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.51-0.99] in April, 61% (0.39, 0.26-0.58) in May, 68% (0.32, 0.19-0.55) in June, and 86% (0.14, 0.03-0.58) in July. The proportion of patients admitted for geriatric care with oxygen saturation <90% decreased from 13% to 1%, which partly explains the improvement of COVID-19 patient survival. In non-COVID-19 patients during the pandemic, mortality rates remained relatively stable (IR 1.3%-2.3%). Compared with non-COVID-19 geriatric patients, the IRR of death declined from 11 times higher (IRR 11.7, 95% CI 6.11-22.3) to 1.6 times (2.61, 0.50-13.7) between March and July in patients with COVID-19. Mortality risk in geriatric patients from the Stockholm region declined over time throughout the first pandemic wave of COVID-19. The improved survival rate over time was only partly related to improvement in saturation status at the admission of the patients hospitalized later throughout the pandemic. Lower incidence during the later months could have led to less severe hospitalized cases driving down mortality.