COVID-19 associated mortality and cardiovascular disease outcomes among US women veterans

Shirling Tsai, Hang Nguyen, Ramin Ebrahimi, Monica R. Barbosa, Bala Ramanan, Daniel F. Heitjan, Jeffrey L. Hastings, J. Gregory Modrall, Haekyung Jeon-Slaughter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The burden of COVID-19 has been noted to be disproportionately greater in minority women, a population that is nevertheless still understudied in COVID-19 research. We conducted an observational study to examine COVID-19-associated mortality and cardiovascular disease outcomes after testing (henceforth index) among a racially diverse adult women veteran population. We assembled a retrospective cohort from a Veterans Affairs (VA) national COVID-19 shared data repository, collected between February and August 2020. A case was defined as a woman veteran who tested positive for SARS-COV-2, and a control as a woman veteran who tested negative. We used Kaplan–Meier curves and the Cox proportional hazards model to examine the distribution of time to death and the effects of baseline predictors on mortality risk. We used generalized linear models to examine 60-day cardiovascular disease outcomes. Covariates studied included age, body mass index (BMI), and active smoking status at index, and pre-existing conditions of diabetes, chronic kidney disease (CKD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and a history of treatment with antiplatelet or anti-thrombotic drug at any time in the 2 years prior to the index date. Women veterans who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 had 4 times higher mortality risk than women veterans who tested negative (Hazard Ratio 3.8, 95% Confidence Interval CI 2.92 to 4.89) but had lower risk of cardiovascular events (Odds Ratio OR 0.78, 95% CI 0.66 to 0.92) and developing new heart disease conditions within 60 days (OR 0.67, 95% CI 0.58 to 0.77). Older age, obesity (BMI > 30), and prior CVD and COPD conditions were positively associated with increased mortality in 60 days. Despite a higher infection rate among minority women veterans, there was no significant race difference in mortality, cardiovascular events, or onset of heart disease. SARS-CoV-2 infection increased short-term mortality risk among women veterans similarly across race groups. However, there was no evidence of increased cardiovascular disease incidence in 60 days. A longer follow-up of women veterans who tested positive is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8497
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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