It is widely known that common comorbidities may increase the risk of severe COVID-19 infections and rates of mortality. Additionally, research has shown that underlying cardiovascular disease is correlated with an increased risk of death among patients who are hospitalized due to COVID-19.

In a study published in Cureus, researchers conducted a retrospective analytical study to explore the population health outcomes with COVID-19 infection and hyperlipidemia (total cholesterol greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL) as a comorbidity, including potential correlations with age and gender.

The authors wrote, “This study examines how hyperlipidemia contributes to the mortality of COVID-19 by analyzing patients with hyperlipidemia who were hospitalized. The aim was to assess the variability in COVID-19 mortality outcomes among patients diagnosed with hyperlipidemia as a comorbidity.”

From April 1, 2020, to December 31, 2021, researchers obtained data from electronic medical records (EMRs) and divided patients into three populations based on COVID-19 and/or hyperlipidemia based on the ICD-10 codes reported in the EMR system at Freeman Health System in southwest Missouri. All participants were aged older than 18 years.

The three central populations included patients with both COVID-19 and hyperlipidemia (727 patients), patients with COVID-19 and without hyperlipidemia (1,002 patients), and patients with hyperlipidemia and without COVID-19 (5,712 patients).

For comparison, Wald’s methods and two sample proportion summary hypotheses with CIs were utilized, and the populations were subdivided and evaluated for age and gender variations.

Results revealed that patients hospitalized with hyperlipidemia without COVID-19 had mortality rates between 4.92% and 6.11% (n = 5,712), and patients with COVID-19 without hyperlipidemia had mortality rates between 13.51% and 18.03% (n = 1,002). The population with both COVID-19 and hyperlipidemia had significantly higher mortality rates (between 17.17% and 22.99%; n = 727).

The population of patients with both COVID-19 and hyperlipidemia (n = 727) had mortality rates that were 0.63% and 8.00% higher than patients with COVID-19 without hyperlipidemia (n = 1,002) and 11.6% and 17.54% higher than those with hyperlipidemia without COVID-19 (n = 5,712; P <.05).

The authors indicated that while COVID-19 and hyperlipidemia both heightened mortality rates, the combination of both comorbidities led to significantly greater mortality. Additionally, while increased age was associated with increased mortality in all groups, gender was not predictive.

Based on their findings, the authors concluded, “Our study provides insights into variables affecting COVID-19 outcomes in a rural Midwestern population by showing how the comorbidity hyperlipidemia contributes to increased mortality.”

They added, “This study revealed that COVID-19 patients with hyperlipidemia had higher mortality when compared with COVID-19 patients who do not have hyperlipidemia. As much remains unknown about the impacts of exacerbating factors of COVID-19, this information could potentially guide treatment plans for physicians treating COVID-19 patients with hyperlipidemia.”

The authors also indicated that further studies of a larger geographical area within the United States that included factors such as age and gender could add insight to obtain a greater understanding of the impacts of hyperlipidemia on the mortality of COVID-19 patients across the U.S.

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