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Distinct clinical symptom patterns in patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in an analysis of 59,011 patients in the ISARIC-4C study

Millar, JE; Neyton, L; Seth, S; Dunning, J; Merson, L; Murthy, S; Russell, CD; ... Baillie, JK; + view all (2022) Distinct clinical symptom patterns in patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in an analysis of 59,011 patients in the ISARIC-4C study. Scientific Reports , 12 (1) , Article 6843. 10.1038/s41598-022-08032-3. Green open access

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Abstract

COVID-19 is clinically characterised by fever, cough, and dyspnoea. Symptoms affecting other organ systems have been reported. However, it is the clinical associations of different patterns of symptoms which influence diagnostic and therapeutic decision-making. In this study, we applied clustering techniques to a large prospective cohort of hospitalised patients with COVID-19 to identify clinically meaningful sub-phenotypes. We obtained structured clinical data on 59,011 patients in the UK (the ISARIC Coronavirus Clinical Characterisation Consortium, 4C) and used a principled, unsupervised clustering approach to partition the first 25,477 cases according to symptoms reported at recruitment. We validated our findings in a second group of 33,534 cases recruited to ISARIC-4C, and in 4,445 cases recruited to a separate study of community cases. Unsupervised clustering identified distinct sub-phenotypes. First, a core symptom set of fever, cough, and dyspnoea, which co-occurred with additional symptoms in three further patterns: fatigue and confusion, diarrhoea and vomiting, or productive cough. Presentations with a single reported symptom of dyspnoea or confusion were also identified, alongside a sub-phenotype of patients reporting few or no symptoms. Patients presenting with gastrointestinal symptoms were more commonly female, had a longer duration of symptoms before presentation, and had lower 30-day mortality. Patients presenting with confusion, with or without core symptoms, were older and had a higher unadjusted mortality. Symptom sub-phenotypes were highly consistent in replication analysis within the ISARIC-4C study. Similar patterns were externally verified in patients from a study of self-reported symptoms of mild disease. The large scale of the ISARIC-4C study enabled robust, granular discovery and replication. Clinical interpretation is necessary to determine which of these observations have practical utility. We propose that four sub-phenotypes are usefully distinct from the core symptom group: gastro-intestinal disease, productive cough, confusion, and pauci-symptomatic presentations. Importantly, each is associated with an in-hospital mortality which differs from that of patients with core symptoms.

Type: Article
Title: Distinct clinical symptom patterns in patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in an analysis of 59,011 patients in the ISARIC-4C study
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-08032-3
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-08032-3
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: COVID-19, Confusion, Cough, Dyspnea, Fatigue, Female, Fever, Humans, Prospective Studies
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine > MRC Unit for Lifelong Hlth and Ageing
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10148752
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