Pregnant women with severe or critical coronavirus disease 2019 have increased composite morbidity compared with nonpregnant matched controls

Chelsea A. DeBolt, Angela Bianco, Meghana A. Limaye, Jenna Silverstein, Christina A. Penfield, Ashley S. Roman, Henri M. Rosenberg, Lauren Ferrara, Calvin Lambert, Rasha Khoury, Peter S. Bernstein, Julia Burd, Vincenzo Berghella, Elianna Kaplowitz, Jessica R. Overbey, Joanne Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: In March 2020, as community spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 became increasingly prevalent, pregnant women seemed to be equally susceptible to developing coronavirus disease 2019. Although the disease course usually appears mild, severe and critical cases of coronavirus disease 2019 seem to lead to substantial morbidity, including intensive care unit admission with prolonged hospital stay, intubation, mechanical ventilation, and even death. Although there are recent reports regarding the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 on pregnancy, there is a lack of information regarding the severity of coronavirus disease 2019 in pregnant vs nonpregnant women. Objective: We aimed to describe the outcomes of severe and critical cases of coronavirus disease 2019 in pregnant vs nonpregnant, reproductive-aged women. Study Design: This is a multicenter, retrospective, case-control study of women with laboratory-confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection hospitalized with severe or critical coronavirus disease 2019 in 4 academic medical centers in New York City and 1 in Philadelphia between March 12, 2020, and May 5, 2020. The cases consisted of pregnant women admitted specifically for severe or critical coronavirus disease 2019 and not for obstetrical indications. The controls consisted of reproductive-aged, nonpregnant women admitted for severe or critical coronavirus disease 2019. The primary outcome was a composite morbidity that includes the following: death, a need for intubation, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation, or a need for high-flow nasal cannula O2 supplementation. The secondary outcomes included intensive care unit admission, length of stay, a need for discharge to long-term acute care facilities, and discharge with a home O2 requirement. Results: A total of 38 pregnant women with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 polymerase chain reaction-confirmed infections were admitted to 5 institutions specifically for coronavirus disease 2019, 29 (76.3%) meeting the criteria for severe disease status and 9 (23.7%) meeting the criteria for critical disease status. The mean age and body mass index were markedly higher in the nonpregnant control group. The nonpregnant cohort also had an increased frequency of preexisting medical comorbidities, including diabetes, hypertension, and coronary artery disease. The pregnant women were more likely to experience the primary outcome when compared with the nonpregnant control group (34.2% vs 14.9%; P=.03; adjusted odds ratio, 4.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.2–18.2). The pregnant patients experienced higher rates of intensive care unit admission (39.5% vs 17.0%; P<.01; adjusted odds ratio, 5.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.5–17.5). Among the pregnant women who underwent delivery, 72.7% occurred through cesarean delivery and the mean gestational age at delivery was 33.8±5.5 weeks in patients with severe disease status and 35±3.5 weeks in patients with critical coronavirus disease 2019 status. Conclusion: Pregnant women with severe and critical coronavirus disease 2019 are at an increased risk for certain morbidities when compared with nonpregnant controls. Despite the higher comorbidities of diabetes and hypertension in the nonpregnant controls, the pregnant cases were at an increased risk for composite morbidity, intubation, mechanical ventilation, and intensive care unit admission. These findings suggest that pregnancy may be associated with a worse outcome in women with severe and critical cases of coronavirus disease 2019. Our study suggests that similar to other viral infections such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, pregnant women may be at risk for greater morbidity and disease severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510.e1-510.e12
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Volume224
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • coronavirus
  • critical disease
  • disease course
  • intensive care
  • intubation
  • maternal morbidity
  • pandemic
  • pregnancy
  • preterm birth
  • respiratory distress syndrome
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2
  • severe disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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