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Cortisol indicator for Covid-19 mortality risk

Friday June 19th 2020

Excessively high blood levels of cortisol in a Covid-19 patient are an indicator that the patient is likely to deteriorate quickly, according to a UK study.

A study of 403 patients with the virus found cortisol levels ranging as high as 3241, according to the researchers at Imperial College, London.

The analysis showed that those with levels of 744 or less survived an average of 36 days while those with 744 or more survived just 15 days. 27% of the virus-infected patients died.

Researcher Professor Waljit Dhillo said: "These levels are worryingly high.

"Three months ago when we started seeing this wave of COVID-19 patients here in London hospitals, we had very little information about how to best triage people. Now, when people arrive at hospital, we potentially have another simple marker to use alongside oxygen saturation levels to help us identify which patients need to be admitted immediately, and which may not.

"Having an early indicator of which patients may deteriorate more quickly will help us with providing the best level of care as quickly as possible, as well as helping manage the pressure on the NHS. In addition, we can also take cortisol levels into account when we are working out how best to treat our patients."

* A US study has reported that convalescent plasma is safe for a "diverse" group of patients.

Doctors led by the Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, have tested the treatment on some 20,000 patients. 20% were African-American and 35% Hispanic and 7,000 US doctors have been involved in the study.

The researchers say the seven-day mortality of these patients has now declined to 8.6% compared with a rate of 12% among the first 5,000 patients treated.

Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology 18 June 2020

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(20)30216-3/fulltext

Tags: Flu & Viruses | North America | UK News

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