OBJECTIVES: To adopt a multi-state risk prediction model for critical disease/mortality outcomes among hospitalised COVID-19 patients using nationwide COVID-19 hospital surveillance data in Belgium.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Information on 44,659 COVID-19 patients hospitalised between March 2020 and June 2021 with complete data on disease outcomes and candidate predictors was used to adopt a multi-state, multivariate Cox model to predict patients' probability of recovery, critical [transfer to intensive care units (ICU)] or fatal outcomes during hospital stay.
RESULTS: Median length of hospital stay was 9 days (interquartile range: 5-14). After admission, approximately 82% of the COVID-19 patients were discharged alive, 15% of patients were admitted to ICU, and 15% died in the hospital. The main predictors of an increased probability for recovery were younger age, and to a lesser extent, a lower number of prevalent comorbidities. A patient's transition to ICU or in-hospital death had in common the following predictors: high levels of c-reactive protein (CRP) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), reporting lower respiratory complaints and male sex. Additionally predictors for a transfer to ICU included middle-age, obesity and reporting loss of appetite and staying at a university hospital, while advanced age and a higher number of prevalent comorbidities for in-hospital death. After ICU, younger age and low levels of CRP and LDH were the main predictors for recovery, while in-hospital death was predicted by advanced age and concurrent comorbidities.
CONCLUSION: As one of the very few, a multi-state model was adopted to identify key factors predicting COVID-19 progression to critical disease, and recovery or death.