Publications by authors named "Sergio Fernandez-Bertolin"

21 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Profiles of Frailty among Older People Users of a Home-Based Primary Care Service in an Urban Area of Barcelona (Spain): An Observational Study and Cluster Analysis.

J Clin Med 2021 May 13;10(10). Epub 2021 May 13.

Central Catalonia Chronicity Research Group (C3RG), Centre for Health and Social Care Research (CESS), Universitat de Vic-University of Vic-Central University of Catalonia (UVIC-UCC), 08500 Vic, Spain.

Background: The multidimensional assessment of frailty allows stratifying it into degrees; however, there is still heterogeneity in the characteristics of people in each stratum. The aim of this study was to identify frailty profiles of older people users of a home-based primary care service.

Methods: We carried out an observational study from January 2018 to January 2021. Participants were all people cared for a home-based primary care service. We performed a cluster analysis by applying a k-means clustering technique. Cluster labeling was determined with the 22 variables of the Frail-VIG index, age, and sex. We computed multiple indexes to assess the optimal number of clusters, and this was selected based on a clinical assessment of the best options.

Results: Four hundred and twelve participants were clustered into six profiles. Three of these profiles corresponded to a moderate frailty degree, two to a severe frailty degree and one to a mild frailty degree. In addition, almost 75% of the participants were clustered into three profiles which corresponded to mild and moderate degree of frailty.

Conclusions: Different profiles were found within the same degree of frailty. Knowledge of these profiles can be useful in developing strategies tailored to these differentiated care needs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10102106DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8153285PMC
May 2021

Alpha-1 blockers and susceptibility to COVID-19 in benign prostate hyperplasia patients : an international cohort study.

medRxiv 2021 Mar 24. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

Alpha-1 blockers, often used to treat benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), have been hypothesized to prevent COVID-19 complications by minimising cytokine storms release. We conducted a prevalent-user active-comparator cohort study to assess association between alpha-1 blocker use and risks of three COVID-19 outcomes: diagnosis, hospitalization, and hospitalization requiring intensive services. Our study included 2.6 and 0.46 million users of alpha-1 blockers and of alternative BPH therapy during the period between November 2019 and January 2020, found in electronic health records from Spain (SIDIAP) and the United States (Department of Veterans Affairs, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, IQVIA OpenClaims, Optum DOD, Optum EHR). We estimated hazard ratios using state-of-the-art techniques to minimize potential confounding, including large-scale propensity score matching/stratification and negative control calibration. We found no differential risk for any of COVID-19 outcome, pointing to the need for further research on potential COVID-19 therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.03.18.21253778DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8010772PMC
March 2021

COVID-19 in patients with autoimmune diseases: characteristics and outcomes in a multinational network of cohorts across three countries.

Rheumatology (Oxford) 2021 Mar 16. Epub 2021 Mar 16.

Real-World Evidence, Trial, Barcelona, Spain, Form Support.

Objective: Patients with autoimmune diseases were advised to shield to avoid COVID-19, but information on their prognosis is lacking. We characterised 30-day outcomes and mortality after hospitalisation with COVID-19 among patients with prevalent autoimmune diseases, and compared outcomes after hospital admissions among similar patients with seasonal influenza.

Methods: A multinational network cohort study was conducted using electronic health records data from Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) (United States [US]), Optum [US], Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) (US), Information System for Research in Primary Care-Hospitalisation Linked Data (SIDIAP-H) (Spain), and claims data from IQVIA Open Claims (US) and Health Insurance and Review Assessment (HIRA) (South Korea). All patients with prevalent autoimmune diseases, diagnosed and/or hospitalised between January and June 2020 with COVID-19, and similar patients hospitalised with influenza in 2017-2018 were included. Outcomes were death and complications within 30 days of hospitalisation.

Results: We studied 133 589 patients diagnosed and 48 418 hospitalised with COVID-19 with prevalent autoimmune diseases. Most patients were female, aged ≥50 years with previous comorbidities. The prevalence of hypertension (45.5-93.2%), chronic kidney disease (14.0-52.7%) and heart disease (29.0-83.8%) was higher in hospitalised vs diagnosed patients with COVID-19. Compared with 70 660 hospitalised with influenza, those admitted with COVID-19 had more respiratory complications including pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome, and higher 30-day mortality (2.2% to 4.3% vs 6.3% to 24.6%).

Conclusions: Compared with influenza, COVID-19 is a more severe disease, leading to more complications and higher mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/keab250DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7989171PMC
March 2021

Unraveling COVID-19: a large-scale characterization of 4.5 million COVID-19 cases using CHARYBDIS.

Res Sq 2021 Mar 1. Epub 2021 Mar 1.

Routinely collected real world data (RWD) have great utility in aiding the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic response [1,2]. Here we present the international Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics (OHDSI) [3] Characterizing Health Associated Risks, and Your Baseline Disease In SARS-COV-2 (CHARYBDIS) framework for standardisation and analysis of COVID-19 RWD. We conducted a descriptive cohort study using a federated network of data partners in the United States, Europe (the Netherlands, Spain, the UK, Germany, France and Italy) and Asia (South Korea and China). The study protocol and analytical package were released on 11 June 2020 and are iteratively updated via GitHub [4]. We identified three non-mutually exclusive cohorts of 4,537,153 individuals with a clinical 886,193 , and 113,627 . All comorbidities, symptoms, medications, and outcomes are described by cohort in aggregate counts, and are available in an interactive website: https://data.ohdsi.org/Covid19CharacterizationCharybdis/. CHARYBDIS findings provide benchmarks that contribute to our understanding of COVID-19 progression, management and evolution over time. This can enable timely assessment of real-world outcomes of preventative and therapeutic options as they are introduced in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-279400/v1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7941629PMC
March 2021

Medication-Related Problems in Older People with Multimorbidity in Catalonia: A Real-World Data Study with 5 Years' Follow-Up.

J Clin Med 2021 Feb 11;10(4). Epub 2021 Feb 11.

Departament de Pediatria, Obstetricia i Ginecologia i Medicina Preventiva, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), Spain.

Aging, multimorbidity, and polypharmacy are associated with medication-related problems (MRPs). This study aimed to assess the association that multimorbidity and mortality have with MRPs in older people over time. We followed multimorbid, older (65-99 years) people in Catalonia from 2012 to 2016, using longitudinal data and Cox models to estimate adjusted hazard ratios (HR). We reviewed electronic health records to collect explanatory variables and MRPs (duplicate therapy, drug-drug interactions, potentially inappropriate medications (PIM), and contraindicated drugs in chronic kidney disease (CKD) or liver disease). There were 723,016 people (median age: 74 years; 58.9% women) who completed follow-up. We observed a significant ( < 0.001) increase in the proportion with at least one MRP (2012: 66.9% to 2016: 75.5%); contraindicated drugs in CKD (11.1 to 18.5%) and liver disease (3.9 to 5.3%); and PIMs (62.5 to 71.1%), especially drugs increasing fall risk (67.5%). People with ≥10 diseases had more MRPs (in 2016: PIMs, 89.6%; contraindicated drugs in CKD, 34.4%; and in liver disease, 9.3%). All MRPs were independently associated with mortality, from duplicate therapy (HR 1.06; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.04-1.08) to interactions (HR 1.60; 95% CI 1.54-1.66). Ensuring safe pharmacological treatment in elderly, multimorbid patient remains a challenge for healthcare systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10040709DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7916946PMC
February 2021

Implementation of the COVID-19 Vulnerability Index Across an International Network of Health Care Data Sets: Collaborative External Validation Study.

JMIR Med Inform 2021 Apr 5;9(4):e21547. Epub 2021 Apr 5.

Department of Biomedical Informatics, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Republic of Korea.

Background: SARS-CoV-2 is straining health care systems globally. The burden on hospitals during the pandemic could be reduced by implementing prediction models that can discriminate patients who require hospitalization from those who do not. The COVID-19 vulnerability (C-19) index, a model that predicts which patients will be admitted to hospital for treatment of pneumonia or pneumonia proxies, has been developed and proposed as a valuable tool for decision-making during the pandemic. However, the model is at high risk of bias according to the "prediction model risk of bias assessment" criteria, and it has not been externally validated.

Objective: The aim of this study was to externally validate the C-19 index across a range of health care settings to determine how well it broadly predicts hospitalization due to pneumonia in COVID-19 cases.

Methods: We followed the Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics (OHDSI) framework for external validation to assess the reliability of the C-19 index. We evaluated the model on two different target populations, 41,381 patients who presented with SARS-CoV-2 at an outpatient or emergency department visit and 9,429,285 patients who presented with influenza or related symptoms during an outpatient or emergency department visit, to predict their risk of hospitalization with pneumonia during the following 0-30 days. In total, we validated the model across a network of 14 databases spanning the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

Results: The internal validation performance of the C-19 index had a C statistic of 0.73, and the calibration was not reported by the authors. When we externally validated it by transporting it to SARS-CoV-2 data, the model obtained C statistics of 0.36, 0.53 (0.473-0.584) and 0.56 (0.488-0.636) on Spanish, US, and South Korean data sets, respectively. The calibration was poor, with the model underestimating risk. When validated on 12 data sets containing influenza patients across the OHDSI network, the C statistics ranged between 0.40 and 0.68.

Conclusions: Our results show that the discriminative performance of the C-19 index model is low for influenza cohorts and even worse among patients with COVID-19 in the United States, Spain, and South Korea. These results suggest that C-19 should not be used to aid decision-making during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our findings highlight the importance of performing external validation across a range of settings, especially when a prediction model is being extrapolated to a different population. In the field of prediction, extensive validation is required to create appropriate trust in a model.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/21547DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8023380PMC
April 2021

The natural history of symptomatic COVID-19 during the first wave in Catalonia.

Nat Commun 2021 02 3;12(1):777. Epub 2021 Feb 3.

Fundació Institut Universitari per a la recerca a l'Atenció Primària de Salut Jordi Gol i Gurina (IDIAPJGol), Barcelona, Spain.

The natural history of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has yet to be fully described. Here, we use patient-level data from the Information System for Research in Primary Care (SIDIAP) to summarise COVID-19 outcomes in Catalonia, Spain. We included 5,586,521 individuals from the general population. Of these, 102,002 had an outpatient diagnosis of COVID-19, 16,901 were hospitalised with COVID-19, and 5273 died after either being diagnosed or hospitalised with COVID-19 between 1st March and 6th May 2020. Older age, being male, and having comorbidities were all generally associated with worse outcomes. These findings demonstrate the continued need to protect those at high risk of poor outcomes, particularly older people, from COVID-19 and provide appropriate care for those who develop symptomatic disease. While risks of hospitalisation and death were lower for younger populations, there is a need to limit their role in community transmission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21100-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7858639PMC
February 2021

Renin-angiotensin system blockers and susceptibility to COVID-19: an international, open science, cohort analysis.

Lancet Digit Health 2021 02 17;3(2):e98-e114. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Centre for Statistics in Medicine, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Background: Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) have been postulated to affect susceptibility to COVID-19. Observational studies so far have lacked rigorous ascertainment adjustment and international generalisability. We aimed to determine whether use of ACEIs or ARBs is associated with an increased susceptibility to COVID-19 in patients with hypertension.

Methods: In this international, open science, cohort analysis, we used electronic health records from Spain (Information Systems for Research in Primary Care [SIDIAP]) and the USA (Columbia University Irving Medical Center data warehouse [CUIMC] and Department of Veterans Affairs Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership [VA-OMOP]) to identify patients aged 18 years or older with at least one prescription for ACEIs and ARBs (target cohort) or calcium channel blockers (CCBs) and thiazide or thiazide-like diuretics (THZs; comparator cohort) between Nov 1, 2019, and Jan 31, 2020. Users were defined separately as receiving either monotherapy with these four drug classes, or monotherapy or combination therapy (combination use) with other antihypertensive medications. We assessed four outcomes: COVID-19 diagnosis; hospital admission with COVID-19; hospital admission with pneumonia; and hospital admission with pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, acute kidney injury, or sepsis. We built large-scale propensity score methods derived through a data-driven approach and negative control experiments across ten pairwise comparisons, with results meta-analysed to generate 1280 study effects. For each study effect, we did negative control outcome experiments using a possible 123 controls identified through a data-rich algorithm. This process used a set of predefined baseline patient characteristics to provide the most accurate prediction of treatment and balance among patient cohorts across characteristics. The study is registered with the EU Post-Authorisation Studies register, EUPAS35296.

Findings: Among 1 355 349 antihypertensive users (363 785 ACEI or ARB monotherapy users, 248 915 CCB or THZ monotherapy users, 711 799 ACEI or ARB combination users, and 473 076 CCB or THZ combination users) included in analyses, no association was observed between COVID-19 diagnosis and exposure to ACEI or ARB monotherapy versus CCB or THZ monotherapy (calibrated hazard ratio [HR] 0·98, 95% CI 0·84-1·14) or combination use exposure (1·01, 0·90-1·15). ACEIs alone similarly showed no relative risk difference when compared with CCB or THZ monotherapy (HR 0·91, 95% CI 0·68-1·21; with heterogeneity of >40%) or combination use (0·95, 0·83-1·07). Directly comparing ACEIs with ARBs demonstrated a moderately lower risk with ACEIs, which was significant with combination use (HR 0·88, 95% CI 0·79-0·99) and non-significant for monotherapy (0·85, 0·69-1·05). We observed no significant difference between drug classes for risk of hospital admission with COVID-19, hospital admission with pneumonia, or hospital admission with pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, acute kidney injury, or sepsis across all comparisons.

Interpretation: No clinically significant increased risk of COVID-19 diagnosis or hospital admission-related outcomes associated with ACEI or ARB use was observed, suggesting users should not discontinue or change their treatment to decrease their risk of COVID-19.

Funding: Wellcome Trust, UK National Institute for Health Research, US National Institutes of Health, US Department of Veterans Affairs, Janssen Research & Development, IQVIA, South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare Republic, Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, and European Health Data and Evidence Network.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2589-7500(20)30289-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7834915PMC
February 2021

Characteristics, outcomes, and mortality amongst 133,589 patients with prevalent autoimmune diseases diagnosed with, and 48,418 hospitalised for COVID-19: a multinational distributed network cohort analysis.

medRxiv 2020 Nov 27. Epub 2020 Nov 27.

Real-World Evidence, Trial Form Support, Barcelona, Spain.

Objective: Patients with autoimmune diseases were advised to shield to avoid COVID-19, but information on their prognosis is lacking. We characterised 30-day outcomes and mortality after hospitalisation with COVID-19 among patients with prevalent autoimmune diseases, and compared outcomes after hospital admissions among similar patients with seasonal influenza.

Design: Multinational network cohort study.

Setting: Electronic health records data from Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) (NYC, United States [US]), Optum [US], Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) (US), Information System for Research in Primary Care-Hospitalisation Linked Data (SIDIAP-H) (Spain), and claims data from IQVIA Open Claims (US) and Health Insurance and Review Assessment (HIRA) (South Korea).

Participants: All patients with prevalent autoimmune diseases, diagnosed and/or hospitalised between January and June 2020 with COVID-19, and similar patients hospitalised with influenza in 2017-2018 were included.

Main Outcome Measures: 30-day complications during hospitalisation and death.

Results: We studied 133,589 patients diagnosed and 48,418 hospitalised with COVID-19 with prevalent autoimmune diseases. The majority of participants were female (60.5% to 65.9%) and aged ≥50 years. The most prevalent autoimmune conditions were psoriasis (3.5 to 32.5%), rheumatoid arthritis (3.9 to 18.9%), and vasculitis (3.3 to 17.6%). Amongst hospitalised patients, Type 1 diabetes was the most common autoimmune condition (4.8% to 7.5%) in US databases, rheumatoid arthritis in HIRA (18.9%), and psoriasis in SIDIAP-H (26.4%).Compared to 70,660 hospitalised with influenza, those admitted with COVID-19 had more respiratory complications including pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome, and higher 30-day mortality (2.2% to 4.3% versus 6.3% to 24.6%).

Conclusions: Patients with autoimmune diseases had high rates of respiratory complications and 30-day mortality following a hospitalization with COVID-19. Compared to influenza, COVID-19 is a more severe disease, leading to more complications and higher mortality. Future studies should investigate predictors of poor outcomes in COVID-19 patients with autoimmune diseases.

What Is Already Known About This Topic: Patients with autoimmune conditions may be at increased risk of COVID-19 infection andcomplications.There is a paucity of evidence characterising the outcomes of hospitalised COVID-19 patients with prevalent autoimmune conditions.

What This Study Adds: Most people with autoimmune diseases who required hospitalisation for COVID-19 were women, aged 50 years or older, and had substantial previous comorbidities.Patients who were hospitalised with COVID-19 and had prevalent autoimmune diseases had higher prevalence of hypertension, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes as compared to those with prevalent autoimmune diseases who were diagnosed with COVID-19.A variable proportion of 6% to 25% across data sources died within one month of hospitalisation with COVID-19 and prevalent autoimmune diseases.For people with autoimmune diseases, COVID-19 hospitalisation was associated with worse outcomes and 30-day mortality compared to admission with influenza in the 2017-2018 season.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.11.24.20236802DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7709171PMC
November 2020

Baseline characteristics, management, and outcomes of 55,270 children and adolescents diagnosed with COVID-19 and 1,952,693 with influenza in France, Germany, Spain, South Korea and the United States: an international network cohort study.

medRxiv 2020 Oct 30. Epub 2020 Oct 30.

To characterize the demographics, comorbidities, symptoms, in-hospital treatments, and health outcomes among children/adolescents diagnosed or hospitalized with COVID-19. Secondly, to describe health outcomes amongst children/adolescents diagnosed with previous seasonal influenza. International network cohort. Real-world data from European primary care records (France/Germany/Spain), South Korean claims and US claims and hospital databases. Diagnosed and/or hospitalized children/adolescents with COVID-19 at age <18 between January and June 2020; diagnosed with influenza in 2017-2018. Baseline demographics and comorbidities, symptoms, 30-day in-hospital treatments and outcomes including hospitalization, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), and death. A total of 55,270 children/adolescents diagnosed and 3,693 hospitalized with COVID-19 and 1,952,693 diagnosed with influenza were studied. Comorbidities including neurodevelopmental disorders, heart disease, and cancer were all more common among those hospitalized vs diagnosed with COVID-19. The most common COVID-19 symptom was fever. Dyspnea, bronchiolitis, anosmia and gastrointestinal symptoms were more common in COVID-19 than influenza. In-hospital treatments for COVID-19 included repurposed medications (<10%), and adjunctive therapies: systemic corticosteroids (6.8% to 37.6%), famotidine (9.0% to 28.1%), and antithrombotics such as aspirin (2.0% to 21.4%), heparin (2.2% to 18.1%), and enoxaparin (2.8% to 14.8%). Hospitalization was observed in 0.3% to 1.3% of the COVID-19 diagnosed cohort, with undetectable (N<5 per database) 30-day fatality. Thirty-day outcomes including pneumonia, ARDS, and MIS-C were more frequent in COVID-19 than influenza. Despite negligible fatality, complications including pneumonia, ARDS and MIS-C were more frequent in children/adolescents with COVID-19 than with influenza. Dyspnea, anosmia and gastrointestinal symptoms could help differential diagnosis. A wide range of medications were used for the inpatient management of pediatric COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.10.29.20222083DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7605587PMC
October 2020

Baseline phenotype and 30-day outcomes of people tested for COVID-19: an international network cohort including >3.32 million people tested with real-time PCR and >219,000 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in South Korea, Spain and the United States.

medRxiv 2020 Oct 27. Epub 2020 Oct 27.

Early identification of symptoms and comorbidities most predictive of COVID-19 is critical to identify infection, guide policies to effectively contain the pandemic, and improve health systems' response. Here, we characterised socio-demographics and comorbidity in 3,316,107persons tested and 219,072 persons tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 since January 2020, and their key health outcomes in the month following the first positive test. Routine care data from primary care electronic health records (EHR) from Spain, hospital EHR from the United States (US), and claims data from South Korea and the US were used. The majority of study participants were women aged 18-65 years old. Positive/tested ratio varied greatly geographically (2.2:100 to 31.2:100) and over time (from 50:100 in February-April to 6.8:100 in May-June). Fever, cough and dyspnoea were the most common symptoms at presentation. Between 4%-38% required admission and 1-10.5% died within a month from their first positive test. Observed disparity in testing practices led to variable baseline characteristics and outcomes, both nationally (US) and internationally. Our findings highlight the importance of large scale characterization of COVID-19 international cohorts to inform planning and resource allocation including testing as countries face a second wave.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.10.25.20218875DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7605581PMC
October 2020

Five-year trajectories of multimorbidity patterns in an elderly Mediterranean population using Hidden Markov Models.

Sci Rep 2020 10 9;10(1):16879. Epub 2020 Oct 9.

Signal Theory and Communications Department, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona Tech., Campus Nord, UPC D5, Jordi Girona 1-2, 08034, Barcelona, Spain.

This study aimed to analyse the trajectories and mortality of multimorbidity patterns in patients aged 65 to 99 years in Catalonia (Spain). Five year (2012-2016) data of 916,619 participants from a primary care, population-based electronic health record database (Information System for Research in Primary Care, SIDIAP) were included in this retrospective cohort study. Individual longitudinal trajectories were modelled with a Hidden Markov Model across multimorbidity patterns. We computed the mortality hazard using Cox regression models to estimate survival in multimorbidity patterns. Ten multimorbidity patterns were originally identified and two more states (death and drop-outs) were subsequently added. At baseline, the most frequent cluster was the Non-Specific Pattern (42%), and the least frequent the Multisystem Pattern (1.6%). Most participants stayed in the same cluster over the 5 year follow-up period, from 92.1% in the Nervous, Musculoskeletal pattern to 59.2% in the Cardio-Circulatory and Renal pattern. The highest mortality rates were observed for patterns that included cardio-circulatory diseases: Cardio-Circulatory and Renal (37.1%); Nervous, Digestive and Circulatory (31.8%); and Cardio-Circulatory, Mental, Respiratory and Genitourinary (28.8%). This study demonstrates the feasibility of characterizing multimorbidity patterns along time. Multimorbidity trajectories were generally stable, although changes in specific multimorbidity patterns were observed. The Hidden Markov Model is useful for modelling transitions across multimorbidity patterns and mortality risk. Our findings suggest that health interventions targeting specific multimorbidity patterns may reduce mortality in patients with multimorbidity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-73231-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7547668PMC
October 2020

Medication-related problems in older people in Catalonia: A real-world data study.

Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 2021 02 26;30(2):220-228. Epub 2020 Nov 26.

Central Research Unit, Fundació Institut Universitari per a la Recerca a l'Atenció Primària de Salut Jordi Gol i Gurina (IDIAPJGol), Barcelona, Spain.

Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine medication-related problems (MRPs) in primary care patients over 65 years of age.

Methods: Cross-sectional study based on the electronic health records of patients (65-99 years of age) visited in 284 primary health care centers during 2012 in Catalonia.

Variables: age, sex, sociodemographic variables, number of drugs, kidney and liver function and MRPs (duplicate therapy, drug-drug interactions, potentially inappropriate medications [PIMs] and drugs contraindicated in chronic kidney disease and in liver diseases). Unconditional logistic regression models were used to identify the factors associated with MRPs in patients with multimorbidity.

Results: 916 619 older people were included and 853 085 of them met the criteria for multimorbidity. Median age was 75 years and 57.7% of them were women. High percentages of MRPs were observed: PIMs (62.8%), contraindicated drugs in chronic kidney disease (12.1%), duplicate therapy (11.1%), contraindicated drugs in liver diseases (4.2%), and drug-drug interactions (1.0%). These numbers were higher in the subgroup of patients with ≥10 diseases. The most common PIMs were connected to drugs that increase the risk of fall (66.8%), antiulcer agents without criteria for gastroprotection (40.6%), and the combination of drugs with anticholinergic effects (39.7%). In the multivariate analysis, the variables associated with all MRPs among the patients with multimorbidity were the number of drugs and the number of visits.

Conclusions: The coexistence of multimorbidity and polypharmacy is associated with an elevated risk of MRPs in older people. Medication safety for older patients constitutes a pressing concern for health services.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pds.5149DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7839740PMC
February 2021

Deep phenotyping of 34,128 adult patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in an international network study.

Nat Commun 2020 10 6;11(1):5009. Epub 2020 Oct 6.

Clinical Pharmacology Unit, Zealand University Hospital, Køge, Denmark.

Comorbid conditions appear to be common among individuals hospitalised with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) but estimates of prevalence vary and little is known about the prior medication use of patients. Here, we describe the characteristics of adults hospitalised with COVID-19 and compare them with influenza patients. We include 34,128 (US: 8362, South Korea: 7341, Spain: 18,425) COVID-19 patients, summarising between 4811 and 11,643 unique aggregate characteristics. COVID-19 patients have been majority male in the US and Spain, but predominantly female in South Korea. Age profiles vary across data sources. Compared to 84,585 individuals hospitalised with influenza in 2014-19, COVID-19 patients have more typically been male, younger, and with fewer comorbidities and lower medication use. While protecting groups vulnerable to influenza is likely a useful starting point in the response to COVID-19, strategies will likely need to be broadened to reflect the particular characteristics of individuals being hospitalised with COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18849-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7538555PMC
October 2020

Autoencoders for health improvement by compressing the set of patient features.

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 2020 07;2020:5917-5920

A challenge to solve when analyzing multimorbidity patterns in elderly people is the management of a high number of characteristics associated with each patient. The main variables to study multimorbidity are diseases, however other variables should be considered to better classify the people included in each pattern. Age, sex, social class and medication are frequently used in the typing of each multimorbidity pattern. Subsequently the cardinality of the set of features that characterize a patient is very high and normally, the set is compressed to obtain a patient vector of new variables whose dimension is noticeably smaller than that of the initial set. To minimize the loss of information by compression, traditionally Principal Component Analysis (PCA) based projection techniques have been used, which although they are generally a good option, the projection is linear, which somehow reduces its flexibility and limits the performance. As an alternative to the PCA based techniques, in this paper, it is proposed to use autoencoders, and it is shown the improvement in the obtained multimorbidity patterns from the compressed database, when the registered data on about a million patients (5 years' follow-up) are processed. This work demonstrates that autoencoders retain a larger amount of information in each pattern and results are more consistent with clinical experience than other approaches frequently found in the literature.Clinical relevance- From an epidemiological perspective, the contribution is relevant, since it allows for a more precise analysis of multimorbidity patterns, leading to better approaches to patient health strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/EMBC44109.2020.9176209DOI Listing
July 2020

Risk of hydroxychloroquine alone and in combination with azithromycin in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: a multinational, retrospective study.

Lancet Rheumatol 2020 Nov 21;2(11):e698-e711. Epub 2020 Aug 21.

Janssen Research and Development, Titusville, NJ, USA.

Background: Hydroxychloroquine, a drug commonly used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, has received much negative publicity for adverse events associated with its authorisation for emergency use to treat patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. We studied the safety of hydroxychloroquine, alone and in combination with azithromycin, to determine the risk associated with its use in routine care in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Methods: In this multinational, retrospective study, new user cohort studies in patients with rheumatoid arthritis aged 18 years or older and initiating hydroxychloroquine were compared with those initiating sulfasalazine and followed up over 30 days, with 16 severe adverse events studied. Self-controlled case series were done to further establish safety in wider populations, and included all users of hydroxychloroquine regardless of rheumatoid arthritis status or indication. Separately, severe adverse events associated with hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin (compared with hydroxychloroquine plus amoxicillin) were studied. Data comprised 14 sources of claims data or electronic medical records from Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK, and the USA. Propensity score stratification and calibration using negative control outcomes were used to address confounding. Cox models were fitted to estimate calibrated hazard ratios (HRs) according to drug use. Estimates were pooled where the value was less than 0·4.

Findings: The study included 956 374 users of hydroxychloroquine, 310 350 users of sulfasalazine, 323 122 users of hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin, and 351 956 users of hydroxychloroquine plus amoxicillin. No excess risk of severe adverse events was identified when 30-day hydroxychloroquine and sulfasalazine use were compared. Self-controlled case series confirmed these findings. However, long-term use of hydroxychloroquine appeared to be associated with increased cardiovascular mortality (calibrated HR 1·65 [95% CI 1·12-2·44]). Addition of azithromycin appeared to be associated with an increased risk of 30-day cardiovascular mortality (calibrated HR 2·19 [95% CI 1·22-3·95]), chest pain or angina (1·15 [1·05-1·26]), and heart failure (1·22 [1·02-1·45]).

Interpretation: Hydroxychloroquine treatment appears to have no increased risk in the short term among patients with rheumatoid arthritis, but in the long term it appears to be associated with excess cardiovascular mortality. The addition of azithromycin increases the risk of heart failure and cardiovascular mortality even in the short term. We call for careful consideration of the benefit-risk trade-off when counselling those on hydroxychloroquine treatment.

Funding: National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, NIHR Senior Research Fellowship programme, US National Institutes of Health, US Department of Veterans Affairs, Janssen Research and Development, IQVIA, Korea Health Industry Development Institute through the Ministry of Health and Welfare Republic of Korea, Versus Arthritis, UK Medical Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership, Foundation Alfonso Martin Escudero, Innovation Fund Denmark, Novo Nordisk Foundation, Singapore Ministry of Health's National Medical Research Council Open Fund Large Collaborative Grant, VINCI, Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking, EU's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, and European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2665-9913(20)30276-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7442425PMC
November 2020

Renin-angiotensin system blockers and susceptibility to COVID-19: a multinational open science cohort study.

medRxiv 2020 Jun 12. Epub 2020 Jun 12.

Centre for Statistics in Medicine, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, Oxford University, Oxford, UK.

Introduction: Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) could influence infection risk of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Observational studies to date lack pre-specification, transparency, rigorous ascertainment adjustment and international generalizability, with contradictory results.

Methods: Using electronic health records from Spain (SIDIAP) and the United States (Columbia University Irving Medical Center and Department of Veterans Affairs), we conducted a systematic cohort study with prevalent ACE, ARB, calcium channel blocker (CCB) and thiazide diuretic (THZ) use to determine relative risk of COVID-19 diagnosis and related hospitalization outcomes. The study addressed confounding through large-scale propensity score adjustment and negative control experiments.

Results: Following over 1.1 million antihypertensive users identified between November 2019 and January 2020, we observed no significant difference in relative COVID-19 diagnosis risk comparing ACE/ARB vs CCB/THZ monotherapy (hazard ratio: 0.98; 95% CI 0.84 - 1.14), nor any difference for mono/combination use (1.01; 0.90 - 1.15). ACE alone and ARB alone similarly showed no relative risk difference when compared to CCB/THZ monotherapy or mono/combination use. Directly comparing ACE vs. ARB demonstrated a moderately lower risk with ACE, non-significant for monotherapy (0.85; 0.69 - 1.05) and marginally significant for mono/combination users (0.88; 0.79 - 0.99). We observed, however, no significant difference between drug- classes for COVID-19 hospitalization or pneumonia risk across all comparisons.

Conclusion: There is no clinically significant increased risk of COVID-19 diagnosis or hospitalization with ACE or ARB use. Users should not discontinue or change their treatment to avoid COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.06.11.20125849DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7310640PMC
June 2020

Multimorbidity patterns, polypharmacy and their association with liver and kidney abnormalities in people over 65 years of age: a longitudinal study.

BMC Geriatr 2020 06 12;20(1):206. Epub 2020 Jun 12.

Fundació Institut Universitari per a la recerca a l'Atenció Primària de Salut Jordi Gol i Gurina (IDIAPJGol), Barcelona, Spain.

Background: The implementation of individual clinical practice guidelines in patients with multimorbidity often results in polypharmacy. Our aim was to analyse medication use according to longitudinal multimorbidity patterns (MP) and determine during a 5-year period (2012-16) which MP are associated with abnormal liver and kidney function in primary care patients over 65 years of age living in Catalonia.

Methods: Design: Longitudinal study (years 2012 to 2016) based on the electronic health records contained in Information System for Research in Primary Care database of the Catalan Institute of Health (SIDIAP).

Variables: age, sex, MP, medication and polypharmacy (drug exposure obtained from the Pharmacy Invoice Registry). Medicines were classified in accordance with the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System (ATC). Glomerular filtration rate was used to determine abnormal kidney function, and serum levels of alkaline phosphatase, alanine transaminase and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase were used to diagnose abnormal liver function.

Statistics: For medication use in MP, we calculated annual mean packages of each drug in each MP, and observed/expected ratios were obtained by dividing mean packages in the cluster by mean packages of the same drug in the overall population. Logistic regression models were fitted to estimate the association between MP at baseline and abnormal kidney and liver function tests during follow up.

Results: Nine hundred sixteen thousand six hundred nineteen patients were included, and 743,827 completed the follow up. We identified one polypharmacy profile per MP, and concluded that the most prescribed drugs in each pattern corresponded to the diseases overrepresented in that specific MP. The median of drugs ranged from 3 (Cluster 1 - Non-Specific) to 8 (Cluster 10 - Multisystem Pattern). Abnormal kidney function was most commonly observed in the Cluster 4 - Cardio-Circulatory and Renal (Odds Ratio [OR] 2.19; Confidence interval [CI] 95% 2.15-2.23) and Cluster 3 - Minority Metabolic Autoimmune-Inflammatory (OR 2.16; CI 95% 2.12-2.20) MP. A higher risk of abnormal liver function was observed in the Cluster 8 - Digestive (OR 3.39; CI 95% 3.30-3.49), and Cluster 4 - Cardio-Circulatory and Renal (OR 1.96; CI 95% 1.91-2.02) MP.

Conclusions: A higher risk of abnormal kidney and liver function was observed in specific MP. The long-term characterisation of MP and polypharmacy illustrates the burden of chronic multimorbidity and polypharmacy in the elderly population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12877-020-01580-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7291454PMC
June 2020

Soft clustering using real-world data for the identification of multimorbidity patterns in an elderly population: cross-sectional study in a Mediterranean population.

BMJ Open 2019 08 30;9(8):e029594. Epub 2019 Aug 30.

Fundació Institut Universitari per a la recerca a l'Atenció Primària de Salut Jordi Gol i Gurina (IDIAPJGol), Barcelona, Spain.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to identify, with soft clustering methods, multimorbidity patterns in the electronic health records of a population ≥65 years, and to analyse such patterns in accordance with the different prevalence cut-off points applied. Fuzzy cluster analysis allows individuals to be linked simultaneously to multiple clusters and is more consistent with clinical experience than other approaches frequently found in the literature.

Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted based on data from electronic health records.

Setting: 284 primary healthcare centres in Catalonia, Spain (2012).

Participants: 916 619 eligible individuals were included (women: 57.7%).

Primary And Secondary Outcome Measures: We extracted data on demographics, International Classification of Diseases version 10 chronic diagnoses, prescribed drugs and socioeconomic status for patients aged ≥65. Following principal component analysis of categorical and continuous variables for dimensionality reduction, machine learning techniques were applied for the identification of disease clusters in a fuzzy c-means analysis. Sensitivity analyses, with different prevalence cut-off points for chronic diseases, were also conducted. Solutions were evaluated from clinical consistency and significance criteria.

Results: Multimorbidity was present in 93.1%. Eight clusters were identified with a varying number of disease values: ; and . Nuclear diseases were identified for each cluster independently of the prevalence cut-off point considered.

Conclusions: Multimorbidity patterns were obtained using fuzzy c-means cluster analysis. They are clinically meaningful clusters which support the development of tailored approaches to multimorbidity management and further research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-029594DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6719769PMC
August 2019

Patterns of Multimorbidity in a Population-Based Cohort of Older People: Sociodemographic, Lifestyle, Clinical, and Functional Differences.

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2020 03;75(4):798-805

Aging Research Center, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University, Sweden.

Background: The aim of this study is to identify clusters of older persons based on their multimorbidity patterns and to analyze differences among clusters according to sociodemographic, lifestyle, clinical, and functional characteristics.

Methods: We analyzed data from the Swedish National Study on Aging and Care in Kungsholmen on 2,931 participants aged 60 years and older who had at least two chronic diseases. Participants were clustered by the fuzzy c-means cluster algorithm. A disease was considered to be associated with a given cluster when the observed/expected ratio was ≥2 or the exclusivity was ≥25%.

Results: Around half of the participants could be classified into five clinically meaningful clusters: respiratory and musculoskeletal diseases (RESP-MSK) 15.7%, eye diseases and cancer (EYE-CANCER) 10.7%, cognitive and sensory impairment (CNS-IMP) 10.6%, heart diseases (HEART) 9.3%, and psychiatric and respiratory diseases (PSY-RESP) 5.4%. Individuals in the CNS-IMP cluster were the oldest, with the worst function and more likely to live in a nursing home; those in the HEART cluster had the highest number of co-occurring diseases and drugs, and they exhibited the highest mean values of serum creatinine and C-reactive protein. The PSY-RESP cluster was associated with higher levels of alcoholism and neuroticism. The other half of the cohort was grouped in an unspecific cluster, which was characterized by gathering the youngest individuals, with the lowest number of co-occurring diseases, and the best functional and cognitive status.

Conclusions: The identified multimorbidity patterns provide insight for setting targets for secondary and tertiary preventative interventions and for designing care pathways for multimorbid older people.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glz137DOI Listing
March 2020