What risk factors are associated with development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) from COVID-19 infection?

Bottom Line:

In patients with COVID-19 pneumonia, older age is associated with developing ARDS and progression to death.


Wu, C. et al. Risk factors associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome and death in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 pneumonia in Wuhan, China. JAMA Internal Medicine (2020).  DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.0994

Date Published:

13 March 2020


Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a severe complication of COVID-19 characterized by widespread inflammation of the lungs. In this study from Wuhan, China, data from 201 patients with COVID-19 pneumonia were collected and analyzed to determine what clinical characters were associated with developing ARDS, as well as progression from ARDS to death. The study found that older age, high white blood cell count, and bloodwork showing organ and coagulation (clotting) dysfunction were associated with ARDS and death. In addition, treatment with steroids may help treat patients who develop ARDS. This research supports knowledge that older patients are at higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19, likely due to a weaker immune response.

Summary by: Louis Huynh