European Journal of Rheumatology
Original Article

Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Rheumatic Patients with Inflammatory Disorders: A Descriptive Study from a High Infection Incidence Region of Northern Spain


Department of Rheumatology, Hospital Universitario Araba, Vitoria-Gasteiz, País Vasco, Spain


Department of Rheumatology, Hospital Universitario Cruces, Barakaldo, País Vasco, Spain


Department of Rheumatology, Hospital Universitario Donostia, Donostia-San Sebastián, País Vasco, Spain


Department of Rheumatology, Hospital Galdakao-Usansolo, Galdakao, País Vasco, Spain


Department of Rheumatology, Hospital Alfredo Espinosa, Urduliz, País Vasco, Spain


Department of Rheumatology, Hospital Alto Deba, Arrasate, País Vasco, Spain

Eur J Rheumatol 2023; 10: 136-142
DOI: 10.5152/eurjrheum.2023.21152
Read: 938 Downloads: 527 Published: 26 October 2023

Background: Since the first confirmed case of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in Spain in January 2020, the susceptibility of patients with rheumatic disease has remained unclear. In this report, we will describe the main features of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that occurred in rheumatic patients with inflammatory disorders and try to identify features associated with severe disease.

Methods: We included all rheumatic patients with immune-mediated diseases followed at 6 centers belonging to the public healthcare system in the Basque Country (Spain) and diagnosed with COVID-19 from March 1, 2020, to May 31, 2020.

Results: In total, 131 patients were included in this study. The most frequent rheumatic disease was rheumatoid arthritis (46.6%), and the main comorbidities were arterial hypertension (45%). Fortyseven percent were taking glucocorticoids (GC) (62 patients), 61.8% were under treatment with conventional synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (csDMARD), and 25 patients (19.1%) were receiving targeted therapies (TT). Thirty-eight percent of patients required hospital admission, 2.3% required transfer to intensive care uni, and the rate of mortality was 9.2%. Associated factors in univariate analysis for a bad outcome were older age, use of GC, obesity, previous cardiovascular disease, and lymphopenia. Use of GC and lymphopenia remained within the multivariate model.

Conclusion: The frequency of COVID-19 seems to be similar in rheumatic patients as in the general population. Advanced age, obesity, heart disease, glucocorticoids, and low levels of lymphocytes were more common among the patients with a bad outcome. Neither exposure to csDMARD nor TT was associated with severe cases.

Cite this article as: Pompei Fernández O, García Escudero P, González Fernández M, et al. COVID-19 in rheumatic patients with inflammatory disorders: A descriptive study from A high infection incidence region of Northern Spain. Eur J Rheumatol. 2023;10(4):136-142.

EISSN 2148-4279