Aetiological and prognostic roles of frailty, multimorbidity and socioeconomic characteristics in the development of SARS-CoV-2 health outcomes: protocol for systematic reviews of population-based studies

Tatjana T. Makovski, Jinane Ghattas, Stephanie Monnier Besnard, Monika Ambrozova, Barbora Vasinova, Rodrigo Feteira-Santos, Peter Bezzegh, Felipe Ponce Bollmann, James Cottam, Romana Haneef, Brecht Devleesschauwer, Niko Speybroeck, Paulo Nogueira, Maria Joao Forjaz, Joel Coste, Laure Carcaillon-Bentata

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Introduction: There is growing evidence that the impact of COVID-19 crisis may be stronger for individuals with multimorbidity, frailty and lower socioeconomic status. Existing reviews focus on few, mainly short-term effects of COVID-19 illness and patients with single chronic disease. Information is also largely missing for population representative samples.

Applying population-based approach, the systematic reviews will have two objectives: (1) to evaluate the aetiological roles of frailty, multimorbidity and socioeconomic status on SARS-CoV-2 infection probability, hospitalisation, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, mechanical ventilation and COVID-19 related mortality among general population and (2) to investigate the prognostic roles of frailty, multimorbidity and socioeconomic characteristics on the risk of hospitalisation, ICU admission, mechanical ventilation, COVID-19 mortality, functioning, quality of life, disability, mental health and work absence.

Methods and analysis: For this ongoing work, four databases were searched: PubMed, Embase, WHO COVID-19 Global literature on coronavirus disease and PsycINFO, for the period between January 2020 and April 7 2021. Peer-reviewed published literature in English and all types of population-based studies will be considered. Studies using standard tools to assess multimorbidity such as disease count, comorbidity indices or disease combinations will be retained, as well as studies with standard scales and scores for frailty or measurement of a socioeconomic gradient. Initial search included 10 139 articles, 411 for full-text reading. Results will be summarised by risk factor, objective and outcome. The feasibility of meta-analysis will be determined by the findings and will aim to better understand uncertainties of the results. Quality of studies will be assessed using standardised scales.

Ethics and dissemination: The study will be based on published evidence, and it is exempt from the ethical approval. This work is part of the Population Health Information Research Infrastructure (PHIRI) project. Dissemination of the results will imply conference presentation, submission for scientific publication and PHIRI project report.

Original languageEnglish
Article number063573
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number11
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • COVID-19
  • epidemiology
  • public health
  • BIAS

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