Skip to main content

22-05-2020 | COVID-19 | News

News in brief

Rheumatic disease patients ‘not over-represented’ in severe COVID-19 cohort

Author: Claire Barnard


medwireNews: The prevalence of rheumatic diseases is low among patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with severe COVID-19, researchers report.

As outlined in a correspondence to the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 1.1% of 902 patients admitted to a Russian ICU with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia had an autoimmune rheumatic disease. Rheumatoid arthritis was the most common diagnosis (n=5), followed by systemic sclerosis (n=2), while psoriatic arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and spondyloarthritis each affected one patient.

“[P]atients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases were not over-represented” in this cohort, and the “low” prevalence rate “did not exceed that in the general population (1%–2%),” say Sergey Moiseev (Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, Russian Federation) and colleagues.

In all, half of the 10 patients with rheumatic diseases and severe COVID-19 died, while three remained in the ICU at the time of reporting and two recovered. Moiseev and team note that “most critically ill patients with rheumatic disease had predictors of unfavourable outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus and obesity, that could contribute to development of acute respiratory distress syndrome.”

And they conclude: “These data indirectly support the current recommendation not to interrupt therapies used in rheumatic patients to avoid flares of autoimmune disease.”

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2020 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature Group

22 May 2020: The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all healthcare professionals across the globe. Medicine Matters’ focus, in this difficult time, is the dissemination of the latest data to support you in your research and clinical practice, based on the scientific literature. We will update the information we provide on the site, as the data are published. However, please refer to your own professional and governmental guidelines for the latest guidance in your own country.

Ann Rheum Dis 2020; doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2020-217676