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COVID-19 infection in adult patients with hematological malignancies: a European Hematology Association Survey (EPICOVIDEHA).

Abstract

Background

Patients with hematological malignancies (HM) are at high risk of mortality from SARS-CoV-2 disease 2019 (COVID-19). A better understanding of risk factors for adverse outcomes may improve clinical management in these patients. We therefore studied baseline characteristics of HM patients developing COVID-19 and analyzed predictors of mortality.

Methods

The survey was supported by the Scientific Working Group Infection in Hematology of the European Hematology Association (EHA). Eligible for the analysis were adult patients with HM and laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 observed between March and December 2020.

Results

The study sample includes 3801 cases, represented by lymphoproliferative (mainly non-Hodgkin lymphoma n = 1084, myeloma n = 684 and chronic lymphoid leukemia n = 474) and myeloproliferative malignancies (mainly acute myeloid leukemia n = 497 and myelodysplastic syndromes n = 279). Severe/critical COVID-19 was observed in 63.8% of patients (n = 2425). Overall, 2778 (73.1%) of the patients were hospitalized, 689 (18.1%) of whom were admitted to intensive care units (ICUs). Overall, 1185 patients (31.2%) died. The primary cause of death was COVID-19 in 688 patients (58.1%), HM in 173 patients (14.6%), and a combination of both COVID-19 and progressing HM in 155 patients (13.1%). Highest mortality was observed in acute myeloid leukemia (199/497, 40%) and myelodysplastic syndromes (118/279, 42.3%). The mortality rate significantly decreased between the first COVID-19 wave (March-May 2020) and the second wave (October-December 2020) (581/1427, 40.7% vs. 439/1773, 24.8%, p value < 0.0001). In the multivariable analysis, age, active malignancy, chronic cardiac disease, liver disease, renal impairment, smoking history, and ICU stay correlated with mortality. Acute myeloid leukemia was a higher mortality risk than lymphoproliferative diseases.

Conclusions

This survey confirms that COVID-19 patients with HM are at high risk of lethal complications. However, improved COVID-19 prevention has reduced mortality despite an increase in the number of reported cases.

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