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COVID-19 Admissions, Fatalities Up for Pregnant Women

FRIDAY, Jan. 29, 2021 -- Compared with similarly aged adults in Washington state, pregnant women have significantly higher COVID-19 hospitalization and case fatality rates, according to a study published online Jan. 26 in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Erica M. Lokken, Ph.D., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues identified pregnant patients with a polymerase chain reaction-confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection between March 1 and June 30, 2020, from 35 sites in Washington state. Case fatality rates were compared to COVID-19 fatality rates in similarly aged adults in Washington state.

The researchers found that among the 240 pregnant patients in Washington state with SARS-CoV-2 infections, one in 11, one in 10, and one in 80 developed severe or critical disease, were hospitalized for COVID-19, and died, respectively. Compared with similarly aged adults, the COVID-19-associated hospitalization rate was 3.5-fold higher in pregnant patients (10.0 versus 2.8 percent; rate ratio, 3.5). Pregnant patients hospitalized for a respiratory concern were more likely to have an underlying condition or comorbidity. Three maternal deaths were attributed to COVID-19 (maternal mortality rate, 1.250 per 100,000 pregnancies). Compared with similarly aged adults, the COVID-19 case fatality was 13.6-fold higher in pregnant patients, with an absolute mortality difference of 1.2 percent.

"We are gravely concerned that COVID-19-associated maternal deaths have been massively undercounted nationally and that the impact on pregnant patients, particularly with underlying conditions, is greater than currently underappreciated," a coauthor said in a statement.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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Posted: January 2021

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