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Short term outcome and risk factors for adverse clinical outcomes in adults with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)


Background: Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was diagnosed in Hong Kong in over 1700 patients between March and early June 2003.

Methods: 115 patients diagnosed with SARS were admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, a large regional hospital in Hong Kong, from March 2003, of whom 100 were either discharged or were dead at 31 May. The patients were prospectively studied after admission to assess their short term outcomes and the risk factors associated with adverse outcomes, defined as death or the need for mechanical ventilation

Results: At the time of writing 18 patients had died, with a crude mortality rate of 15.7% and a 21 day mortality of 10% (standard error 3%). Thirty nine patients (34%) were admitted to the intensive care unit, 30 of whom (26%) required mechanical ventilation. Multivariate analysis showed that age above 60 (hazards ratio (HR) 3.5, 95% CI 1.2 to 10.2; p=0.02), presence of diabetes mellitus or heart disease (HR 9.1, 95% CI 2.8 to 29.1; p<0.001), and the presence of other comorbid conditions (HR 5.2, 95% CI 1.4 to 19.7; p=0.01) were independently associated with mortality. However, only the presence of diabetes mellitus and/or cardiac disease (HR 7.3, 95% CI 3.1 to 17.4; p<0.001) was associated with adverse outcomes as a whole.

Conclusion: SARS is a new disease entity that carries significant morbidity and mortality. Specific clinical and laboratory parameters predicting unfavourable outcomes have been identified.

  • severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
  • risk factors
  • mortality

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