Please cite this article as: Liang W-hua, Guan W-jie, Li C-chen, et al. Clinical characteristics and outcomes of hospitalised patients with COVID-19 treated in Hubei (epicenter) and outside Hubei (non-epicenter): A Nationwide Analysis of China. Eur Respir J 2020; in press (https://doi.Abstract BACKGROUND: During the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), consistent and considerable differences in disease severity and mortality rate of patients treated in Hubei province compared to those in other parts of China has been observed. We sought to compare the clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients being treated inside and outside Hubei province, and explore the factors underlying these differences.
METHODS:Collaborating with the National Health Commission, we established a retrospective cohort to study hospitalized COVID-19 cases in China. Clinical characteristics, the rate of severe events and deaths, and the time to critical illness (invasive ventilation or intensive care unit admission or death) were compared between patients in and outside of Hubei. The impact of Wuhan-related exposure (a presumed key factor that drove the severe situation in Hubei, as Wuhan is the epicenter as well the administrative center of Hubei province) and the duration between symptom onset and admission on prognosis were also determined.
RESULTS:Upon data cut-off (Jan 31st, 2020), 1,590 cases from 575 hospitals in 31 provincial administrative regions were collected (core cohort). The overall rate of severe cases and mortality was 16.0% and 3.2%, respectively. Patients in Hubei (predominantly with Wuhan-related exposure, 597/647, 92.3%) were older (mean: 49.7 vs. 44.9 years), had more cases with comorbidity (32.9% vs. 19.7%), higher symptomatic burden, abnormal radiologic manifestations, and, especially, a longer waiting time between symptom onset and admission (5.7 vs. 4.5 days) compared with patients outside Hubei. Patients in Hubei [severe event rate 23.0% vs. 11.1%, death rate 7.3% vs. 0.3%, hazards ratio (HR) for critical illness 1.59, 95%CI 1.05-2.41] have a poorer prognosis compared with patients outside of Hubei after adjusting for age and comorbidity. However, among patients outside of Hubei, the duration from symptom onset to hospitalization (mean: 4.4 vs. 4.7 days) and prognosis (HR 0.84, were similar between patients with or without Wuhan-related exposure. In the overall population, the waiting time, but neither treated in Hubei nor Wuhan-related exposure, remained an independent prognostic factor (HR 1.05, 1.01-1.08).CONCLUSION: There were more severe cases and poorer outcomes for COVID-19 patients treated in Hubei, which might be attributed to the prolonged duration of symptom onset to hospitalization in the epicenter. Future studies to determine the reason for delaying hospitalization are warranted.