By E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 23, 2020 (HealthDay Information) — In the event you’re unlucky sufficient to be admitted to the hospital with COVID-19, a typical blood marker might predict how extreme your sickness would possibly develop into, new analysis reveals.

The blood marker is named “purple cell distribution width” (RDW) — mainly, the larger the variance within the measurement of purple blood cells, the poorer a affected person’s prognosis, the research authors defined.

A COVID-19 affected person’s RDW take a look at consequence “was extremely correlated with affected person mortality, and the correlation persevered when controlling for different recognized danger components like affected person age, another lab exams and a few pre-existing sicknesses,” mentioned research co-author Dr. Jonathan Carlson, of Massachusetts Common Hospital (MGH) in Boston.

The brand new research was revealed on-line Sept. 23 in JAMA Community Open and was led by Dr. John Higgins, a pathologist investigator on the hospital and affiliate professor of programs biology at Harvard Medical Faculty.

“We wished to assist discover methods to determine high-risk COVID sufferers as early and as simply as potential — who’s prone to develop into severely in poor health and will profit from aggressive interventions, and which hospitalized sufferers are prone to worsen most rapidly,” Higgins mentioned in a hospital information launch.

To take action, they checked out blood exams for greater than 1,600 adults recognized with SARS-CoV-2 an infection who’d been admitted to certainly one of 4 Boston-area hospitals in March and April 2020.

Higgins and his workforce had anticipated that they may need to ferret out some obscure blood marker that may predict poor outcomes from COVID-19. However they rapidly found that RDW — already utilized in normal blood exams — simply match the invoice.

The truth is, sufferers whose RDW values had been above the conventional vary after they had been first admitted to the hospital had a danger of dying that was 2.7 instances that of sufferers whose take a look at outcomes had been within the regular vary, the researchers discovered. General, 31% of sufferers with above-normal RDW take a look at outcomes died, in comparison with 11% of these with regular RDW take a look at outcomes.

And if a affected person’s RDW price was regular upon admission however then slowly started to rise to above-normal ranges, that correlated with an increase within the affected person’s odds for dying as properly, the research discovered.


The following step for the Boston workforce is to find why a excessive RDW rating is tied to worse outcomes. “Such discoveries may level to new therapy methods or determine higher markers of illness severity,” mentioned research co-author Dr. Aaron Aguirre, an MGH heart specialist and important care doctor.

Dr. Teresa Murray Amato is chair of emergency drugs at Lengthy Island Jewish Forest Hills, in New York Metropolis. Studying over the brand new research, she mentioned that “though we all know that superior age and sure [health factors] reminiscent of diabetes and hypertension are related to worse outcomes, there’s nonetheless nice variability of signs and severity inside these teams.”

A blood marker like RDW that would pinpoint at-risk sufferers can be very helpful, Amato mentioned.

Already, “an elevated RDW may be a sign of total poor well being” in any hospital affected person, she famous. Figuring out quickly after hospital admission {that a} affected person is or is just not at a excessive danger of dying, “we will likely be higher at tailoring therapy in a scientific means, in an effort to give our sufferers the absolute best outcomes,” Amato mentioned.

WebMD Information from HealthDay


SOURCES: Teresa Murray Amato, MD, chair, emergency drugs, Lengthy Island Jewish Forest Hills, N.Y.; Massachusetts Common Hospital, information launch, Sept. 23, 2020

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