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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 17-22

The pattern and factors associated with COVID-19 infection among rheumatology patients

1 Department of Medicine, Prince Sultan Military Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Family and Community Medicine, King Saud University Chair of Medical Education Research and Development, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
4 Department of Medicine, Specialized Medical Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Huda Alfaris
Department of Medicine, Prince Sultan Military Medical City, Riyadh
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ara.ara_2_21

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Objectives: The global coronavirus pandemic has led to a considerable concern among rheumatologists regarding the possible higher risk of infection and complications among their patients. The severity and outcome of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection among patients with rheumatic disease (RD) need to be studied to help guide physicians choose the best approach for different categories of patients. Therefore, we aimed to estimate the rate of COVID-19 infection among RD patients and to evaluate the risk factors and outcomes. Methodology: This study was a cross-sectional questionnaire-based study. A convenience and nonprobability sample of RD patients filled out the study questionnaire from October to November 2020. They were invited digitally through SurveyMonkey and were recruited from social support group sites of the Saudi Society of Rheumatology and the Charitable Association for Rheumatic Diseases. The Chi-square test, Mann–Whitney test, and Fisher's exact test were used as appropriate. Continuous data are expressed as the mean and standard deviation. A P < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant. Results: The study participants were composed of 530 RD patients. The ages of the participants ranged from 14 to 80 years, and women outnumbered men with a ratio 4.4:1 (329 female and 96 male patients). The rate of COVID-19 infection among the study population was 13.7% (n = 71). Previous comorbidities (liver disease and heart failure) were associated with higher risk of COVID-19 infection (P < 0.01 and 0.012) and worse outcome (P < 0.005). Conclusion: This study indicates a relatively high rate of COVID-19 infection among RD patients. Having comorbidities posed a significantly greater risk for contracting COVID-19 infection and developing worse outcomes. Therefore, close monitoring of patients with comorbidities such as liver and cardiovascular diseases is warranted.

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