Characterisation of 22446 patients attending UK emergency departments with suspected COVID-19 infection: Observational cohort study

PRIEST Research Group (details in Appendix 1) The, S Goodacre, B Thomas, E Lee, L Sutton, A Loban, S Waterhouse, R Simmonds, K Biggs, C Marincowitz, D Walter

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


Background Hospital emergency departments play a crucial role in the Initial management of suspected COVID-19 infection. We aimed to characterise patients attending emergency departments with suspected COVID-19, including subgroups based on sex, ethnicity and COVID-19 test results.

Methods We undertook a mixed prospective and retrospective observational cohort study in 70 emergency departments across the United Kingdom (UK). We collected presenting data from 22446 people attending with suspected COVID-19 between 26 March 2020 and 28 May 2020. Outcomes were admission to hospital, COVID-19 result, organ support (respiratory, cardiovascular or renal), and death, by record review at 30 days.

Results Adults were acutely unwell (median NEWS2 score 4) and had high rates of admission (67.1%), COVID-19 positivity (31.2%), organ support (9.8%) and death (15.9%). Children had much lower rates of admission (27.4%), COVID-19 positivity (1.2%), organ support (1.4%) and death (0.3%). Adult men and women presented in similar numbers (10210 versus 10506), but men were more likely to be admitted (72.9% v 61.4%), require organ support (12.2% v 7.7%) and die (18.7% v 13.3%). Black or Asian adults tended to be younger than White adults (median age 54, 50 and 67 years), were less likely to be admitted (60.8%, 57.3%, 69.6%) or die (11.9%, 11.2%, 16.8%), but were more likely to require organ support (15.9%, 14.3%, 8.9%) or have a positive COVID-19 test (40.8%, 42.1%, 30.0%). Adults admitted with confirmed COVID-19 had similar age and comorbidities (except chronic lung disease) to those who did not have COVID-19 confirmed, but were much more likely to need organ support (22.2% v 8.9%) or die (32.7% v 15.9%).

Conclusions Important differences exist between patient groups presenting to the emergency department with suspected COVID-19. People with confirmed COVID-19 have a poor prognosis, compared with similar emergency admissions without confirmed COVID-19.
Original languageUndefined
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute

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