Background Available studies are lacking in analysis of baseline demographics and hospital presentation of patients at risk of expiring due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), particularly Black American patients. We conducted a retrospective chart review to determine similarities in demographics and hospital presentation among patients who expired due to COVID-19 at an academic medical center in Brooklyn, New York.
Study design and methods This is a retrospective observational study of 200 patients who expired due to complications of COVID-19. Patients were included in this study if they had laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and expired during their admission. Data were collected on patients who expired between March 17 and April 16, 2020.
Results A vast majority of patients were Black Americans (89%) with no history of international travel who had more than one comorbidity (81%), with the most common comorbidities being hypertension (84·5%), diabetes mellitus (57·5%), and obesity (41·5%). Fifty-five percent of our patient population had three or more comorbidities. Among patients with available data, C-reactive protein, lactate dehydrogenase, and ferritin values were elevated above normal limits at admission. Dyspnea was the most common presenting symptom (92·5%). Most (90·5%) presented within the first week of symptoms, with a median time of symptoms prior to expiration being 8·42 days (IQR 5·57 – 12·72).
Interpretation Socioeconomic status and healthcare inequalities have greatly affected the Black population of Brooklyn, New York, and these disparities become even more apparent in COVID-19 infection. Patients presenting with numerous comorbidities and elevated inflammatory markers represent a population at high risk of in-hospital mortality.