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Life-years lost by COVID-19 patients in public hospitals of Marseille (APHM-South-Eastern France): a limited death toll: a retrospective analysis

Abstract : Objective Between 1 March and 15 June, France experienced the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which 29 549 deaths occurred among COVID-19 patients, 17 250 of whom died in hospital. Our hypothesis is that crude mortality rates are not sufficient to assess the impact of the epidemic on public health. The objective of this paper is to estimate the potential years of life lost (YLL) of patients who died from COVID-19. Method We realised a retrospective analysis of the exhaustive sample of COVID-19 PCR-positive patients who died in public hospitals of Marseille during this first wave. Data on demographic characteristics, comorbidities and care pathways were collected from medical records. The Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) was used to assess what would have been the probability of dying within 1 year of these patients in the absence of COVID-19 and to estimate total YLL. Results Among the 1631 patients who were hospitalised for COVID-19, 178 patients died, at an average age of 80 years. According to CCI, 88.8% of the deceased patients had an 85% probability of dying within 1 year before COVID-19. Among the 11.2% who had a lower CCI probability, 18 out of 20 had at least one additional comorbidity known to be a major risk factor of mortality in COVID-19 disease. Cumulative total number of YLL was estimated to be 541 in this deceased population, that is, an average of 3 YLL. Conclusion Although our results should be interpreted with caution, this analysis confirms that mortality due to COVID-19 translates into a limited number of YLL due to both old age and preexisting comorbidities in the most vulnerable patients. This fact should be better considered in public health management of the pandemic both for risk communication and design of the most appropriate protective measures.
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Submitted on : Monday, April 11, 2022 - 11:52:39 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, April 12, 2022 - 3:40:15 AM

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Sylvie Arlotto, Alice Garès, Audrey Giraud-Gatineau, Jean Cristophe Lagier, Marie-Thérèse Jimeno, et al.. Life-years lost by COVID-19 patients in public hospitals of Marseille (APHM-South-Eastern France): a limited death toll: a retrospective analysis. BMJ Open, BMJ Publishing Group, 2021, 11 (12), pp.e049475. ⟨10.1136/bmjopen-2021-049475⟩. ⟨hal-03636913⟩

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