Changes in hospital mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic

hospital mortality
© Svetlana Popova |

Researchers have published the most comprehensive study of COVID-19 hospital mortality rates in the United States

Researchers analysed data, from the American Heart Association’s COVID-19 Cardiovascular Disease Registry, on more than 20,000 COVID-19 patients from March to November 2020 and found that rates of in-hospital mortality fell 38% between March and May, but there was little further decline through November 2020.

Mortality rates for patients in the registry were 19.1% in March and April, 11.9% in May and June, 11% in July and August, and 10.8% from September through November.


Almost one-third of patients were admitted to intensive care, and 1 in 5 were placed on mechanical ventilation.

“Understanding why mortality rates changed is important for clinicians working to improve outcomes for patients hospitalised with COVID-19,” said Dr. Gregory Roth, the study’s lead author and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

“Further analysis is needed to understand the drivers more precisely, but it speaks to a crucial need for information sharing and identifying hospital best practices that can prevent mortality rates from increasing again, particularly during possible future waves of COVID-19 infections.”

“Our findings suggest that the decline in mortality could be due to overloaded hospitals and changes in treatment,” Roth explained.

“With more variants circulating and many countries still struggling with overloaded hospitals and scarce resources, the more we know about this the better.”

James de Lemos, MD, volunteer co-chair of the steering committee for the registry and professor of medicine and the Sweetheart Ball-Kern Wildenthal distinguished chair in Cardiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who co-led the steering committee of Association volunteers to establish the registry, said:

“The findings such as the ones from this study reflect the importance and value of collecting this rapidly growing dataset to conduct multiple analyses and research projects in a much shorter period of time.”

The full study has been published in JAMA Network Open. 


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