The novel coronavirus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) is the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The presenting symptoms of this virus are variable, and there is an increasing body of literature on risk factors for mortality. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of initial aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels and preexisting liver disease, including cirrhosis, in a cohort of patients admitted with COVID-19 infection at a tertiary care hospital network in the Bronx, New York. We reviewed 3,352 patients who had a positive SARS-CoV2 nasal swab, were over 18 years of age, and had an associated inpatient admission and discharge (or death) to the Montefiore Medical Center from February 28, 2020, to May 22, 2020. Of these, 39/86 (45%) patients died when the initial ALT was >5 times the upper limit of normal (ULN); 115/230 (50%) patients died when the initial AST was >3 times the ULN. The mortality of patients without preexisting liver disease was 26.6% compared to a mortality rate of 29.5% in patients with liver disease. Subgroup analysis showed a mortality of 36.1% in the patients with cirrhosis. Cirrhosis conferred a hazard ratio for mortality of 1.67 (95% confidence interval, 1.09, 2.55; P = 0.019). The baseline Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score was not prognostic in the cirrhosis cohort. There was no statistical difference between mortality in patients with a history of compensated or decompensated cirrhosis. The most common cause of death in the cirrhosis cohort was respiratory failure. Conclusion: COVID-19 hepatitis may lead to poor outcomes in patients who are hospitalized for the disease. Patients with cirrhosis are at a higher risk of COVID-19-related mortality.
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