Lung Cancer Patients, At High Risk for Admission Due to Pneumonia, Did Not Require Hospitalization for COVID-19 at Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy in 2020

Background: Patients with lung cancer are at high risk for hospitalizations and death, although causes for admission in these patients are elusive. Also, the hospitalizations rates of patients with lung cancer in the COVID-19 pandemic are unclear.

Methods: The objectives of this study are to evaluate causes for admission in lung cancer patients and to follow this group into 2020 to see if COVID-19 was a contributor to their hospitalizations. The design is a cohort, retrospective chart review. Participants were patients with an established diagnosis of lung cancer, pursing treatment, ages 19-89 at Creighton University Medical Center- Bergan Mercy (CUMC-B) Hospital Internal Medicine Department from January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2020. Measurements include basic demographics as well as causes for admission and COVID-19 status.

Results and Discussion: Out of 37 patients, selected from 311 candidates, there were 47 causes for admission. Of total admissions from this cohort in 2019, 16.88% were due to pneumonia, 11% with acute respiratory failure with hypoxia. The top 14 causes for admission were responsible for 71.4% of the admissions of lung cancer patients in 2019. Of the surviving patients from 2019 into 2020, 1 had confirmed COVID-19. None were hospitalized for COVID-19 within this cohort. Although there were not COVID-19 related hospitalizations in this cohort, the percentage of overall people who died increased (10 deaths out of 37 (27%) from Jan 1, 2019-Feb 29, 2020 in comparison to 13 deaths out of 26 (50%) after March 1, 2020).

Conclusion: Despite pneumonia being a leading cause for hospitalization in patients with lung cancer, nobody in this cohort was admitted with COVID-19. Although sample size is a limiting factor in this study, further investigation is warranted into why lung cancer patients in this cohort appear to have a steady or increased death rate, but did not contract COVID-19t.


Ian NG and Leah Damiani Strain

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