Investigation Into the Effect of COVID-19 Infection on Length of Hospital Stay and Mortality in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis


West Florida


Citrus Memorial Hospital

Document Type


Publication Date



immune-mediated inflammatory disorder, rheumatology, covid, covid-19, rheumatoid arthritis


Immune System Diseases | Internal Medicine | Rheumatology | Virus Diseases



SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) is a positive-stranded ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus of the coronavirus family, which has resulted in one of the most serious pandemics, with more than 14 million cases confirmed globally. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is estimated to be prevalent in 0.5-1% of the U.S. population. So far, there has been little evidence of COVID-19 infection and its propensity to result in increased mortality or length of hospital stay in patients with RA. To contribute to this body of literature, this study will assess the degree to which COVID-19 is associated with increased mortality and length of hospital stay in patients with RA while also taking into account these patients' comorbidities.


Our retrospective study included 14,180 patients (age >18, median 58, range 18-90) who tested positive for COVID-19 or were assumed to have COVID-19 infection from January 1st, 2020, through July 31st, 2020. Patients were grouped based on the diagnosis of RA and COVID-19 infection versus those without RA. Patients who were diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and hypertension were excluded. Covariates included age, body mass index (BMI), race, sex, maximum C-reactive protein value, maximum D-dimer value, and comorbid diabetes mellitus. Outcome measures were length of hospital stay (LOS), in-hospital mortality, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, ICU LOS, mechanical ventilation, time on mechanical ventilation, and discharge to hospice. The logistic regression model was used to estimate the probability of in-hospital mortality, ICU admission, placement on mechanical ventilation, discharge to hospice, and in-hospital mortality related to home anti-inflammatory use when comparing patients with RA and COVID-19 infection to COVID-19 infected patients without RA.


Of the total 14,180 patients (males 57.1%, females 42.9%), 159 patients (1.1%), had a diagnosis of RA. There was no significant association between RA and hospital LOS, ICU admission, ICU LOS, LOS on mechanical ventilation, or discharge to hospice among those infected with COVID-19. Yet, RA was associated with higher mortality (OR: 1.65; 95% CI: 1.07-2.53; p=0.02) and placement on mechanical ventilation (OR: 1.82; 95% CI: 1.22-2.71; p<0.01) amidst patients infected with COVID-19.


This study suggests that patients with RA and COVID-19 have a significantly increased likelihood of in-hospital mortality and placement on mechanical ventilation. While challenging to realize in a pandemic situation, large studies nationwide are necessary to improve our understanding of COVID-19 infection in patients diagnosed with RA.

Publisher or Conference