OBJECTIVES: Determine if sex differences exist in clinical characteristics and outcomes of adults hospitalized for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a US healthcare system .
DESIGN: Case series study .
PARTICIPANTS: Sequentially hospitalized adults admitted for COVID-19 at two tertiary care academic hospitals in New Orleans, LA, between 27 February and 15 July 2020 . MEASURES AND
OUTCOMES: Measures included demographics, comorbidities, presenting symptoms, and laboratory results . Outcomes included intensive care unit admission (ICU), invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV), and in-hospital death .
RESULTS: We included 776 patients (median age 60.5 years; 61.4% women, 75% non-Hispanic Black). Rates of ICU, IMV, and death were similar in both sexes . In women versus men, obesity (63.8 vs 41.6%, P <0.0001), hypertension (77.6 vs 70.1%, P = 0.02), diabetes (38.2 vs 31.8%, P = 0.06), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, 22.1 vs 15.1%, P = 0.015), and asthma (14.3 vs 6.9%, P = 0.001) were more prevalent . More women exhibited dyspnea (61.2 vs 53.7%, P = 0.04), fatigue (35.7 vs 28.5%, P = 0.03), and digestive symptoms (39.3 vs 32.8%, P = 0.06) than men . Obesity was associated with IMV at a lower BMI (> 35) in women, but the magnitude of the effect of morbid obesity (BMI ≥ 40) was similar in both sexes . COPD was associated with ICU (adjusted OR (aOR), 2.6; 95% CI , 1.5-4.3) and IMV (aOR , 1.8; 95% CI , 1.2-3.1) in women only . Diabetes (aOR , 2.6; 95% CI , 1.2-2.9), chronic kidney disease (aOR , 2.2; 95% CI , 1.3-5.2), elevated neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (aOR , 2.5; 95% CI , 1.4-4.3), and elevated ferritin (aOR , 3.6; 95% CI , 1.7-7.3) were independent predictors of death in women only . In contrast, elevated D-dimer was an independent predictor of ICU (aOR , 7.3; 95% CI , 2.7-19.5), IMV (aOR , 6.5; 95% CI , 2.1-20.4), and death (aOR , 4.5; 95% CI , 1.2-16.4) in men only .
CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights sex disparities in clinical determinants of severe outcomes in COVID-19 patients that may inform management and prevention strategies to ensure gender equity.