County-Level Social Vulnerability is Associated With In-Hospital Death and Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events in Patients Hospitalized With COVID-19: An Analysis of the American Heart Association COVID-19 Cardiovascular Disease Registry

Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, Ahead of Print.
BACKGROUND:The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected low-income and racial/ethnic minority populations in the United States. However, it is unknown whether hospitalized patients with COVID-19 from socially vulnerable communities experience higher rates of death and/or major adverse cardiovascular events (MACEs). Thus, we evaluated the association between county-level social vulnerability and in-hospital mortality and MACE in a national cohort of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.METHODS:Our study population included patients with COVID-19 in the American Heart Association COVID-19 Cardiovascular Disease Registry across 107 US hospitals between January 14, 2020 to November 30, 2020. The Social Vulnerability Index (SVI), a composite measure of community vulnerability developed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was used to classify the county-level social vulnerability of patients’ place of residence. We fit a hierarchical logistic regression model with hospital-level random intercepts to evaluate the association of SVI with in-hospital mortality and MACE.RESULTS:Among 16 939 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the registry, 5065 (29.9%) resided in the most vulnerable communities (highest national quartile of SVI). Compared with those in the lowest quartile of SVI, patients in the highest quartile were younger (age 60.2 versus 62.3 years) and more likely to be Black adults (36.7% versus 12.2%) and Medicaid-insured (31.1% versus 23.0%). After adjustment for demographics (age, sex, race/ethnicity) and insurance status, the highest quartile of SVI (compared with the lowest) was associated with higher likelihood of in-hospital mortality (OR, 1.25 [1.03–1.53];P=0.03) and MACE (OR, 1.26 [95% CI, 1.05–1.50];P=0.01). These findings were not attenuated after accounting for clinical comorbidities and acuity of illness on admission.CONCLUSIONS:Patients hospitalized with COVID-19 residing in more socially vulnerable communities experienced higher rates of in-hospital mortality and MACE, independent of race, ethnicity, and several clinical factors. Clinical and health system strategies are needed to improve health outcomes for socially vulnerable patients.

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