Autoimmune and Chronic Inflammatory Disease Patients with COVID-19

Ryan C. Ungaro, Manasi Agrawal, Sarah Park, Robert Hirten, Jean Frederic Colombel, Kathryn Twyman, Percio S. Gulko, Eyal Klang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: There are limited data on the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on hospitalized patients with autoimmune and chronic inflammatory disease (AICID) compared with patients who do not have AICID. We sought to evaluate whether patients with AICID who have confirmed COVID-19 presenting to the hospital are at higher risk of adverse outcomes compared with those patients without AICID who are infected with COVID-19 and whether immunosuppressive medications impact this risk. Methods: We performed a multicenter retrospective cohort study with patients presenting to five hospitals in a large academic health system with polymerase chain reaction–confirmed COVID-19 infection. We evaluated the impact of having an AICID and class of immunosuppressive medication being used to treat patients with AICID (biologics, nonbiologic immunosuppressives, or systemic corticosteroids) on the risk of developing severe COVID-19 defined as requiring mechanical ventilation (MV) and/or death. Results: A total of 6792 patients with confirmed COVID-19 were included in the study, with 159 (2.3%) having at least one AICID. On multivariable analysis, AICIDs were not significantly associated with severe COVID-19 (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.3, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.9-1.8). Among patients with AICID, use of biologics or nonbiologic immunosuppressives did not increase the risk of severe COVID-19. In contrast, systemic corticosteroid use was significantly associated with an increased risk of severe COVID-19 (aOR 6.8, 95% CI: 2.5-18.4). Conclusion: Patients with AICID are not at increased risk of severe COVID-19 with the exception of those on corticosteroids. These data suggest that patients with AICID should continue on biologic and nonbiologic immunosuppression but limit steroids during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-115
Number of pages5
JournalACR Open Rheumatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


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