Observational study of factors associated with morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 in Lebanon, 2020–2021

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Background The COVID-19 pandemic claimed millions of lives worldwide without clear signs of abating despite several mitigation efforts and vaccination campaigns. There have been tremendous interests in understanding the etiology of the disease particularly in what makes it severe and fatal in certain patients. Studies have shown that COVID-19 patients with kidney injury on admission were more likely to develop severe disease, and acute kidney disease was associated with high mortality in COVID-19 hospitalized patients. Methods This study investigated 819 COVID-19 patients admitted between January 2020-April 2021 to the COVID-19 ward at a tertiary care center in Lebanon and evaluated their vital signs and biomarkers while probing for two main outcomes: intubation and fatality. Logistic and Cox regressions were performed to investigate the association between clinical and metabolic variables and disease outcomes, mainly intubation and mortality. Times were defined in terms of admission and discharge/fatality for COVID-19, with no other exclusions. Results Regression analysis revealed that the following are independent risk factors for both intubation and fatality respectively: diabetes (p = 0.021 and p = 0.04), being overweight (p = 0.021 and p = 0.072), chronic kidney disease (p = 0.045 and p = 0.001), and gender (p = 0.016 and p = 0.114). Further, shortness of breath (p<0.001), age (p<0.001) and being overweight (p = 0.014) associated with intubation, while fatality with shortness of breath (p<0.001) in our group of patients. Elevated level of serum creatinine was the highest factor associated with fatality (p = 0.002), while both white blood count (p<0.001) and serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase levels (p<0.001) emerged as independent risk factors for intubation. Conclusions Collectively our data show that high creatinine levels were significantly associated with fatality in our COVID-19 study patients, underscoring the importance of kidney function as a main modulator of SARS-CoV-2 morbidity and favor a careful and proactive management of patients with elevated creatinine levels on admission.