Changing trends in mortality among solid organ transplant recipients hospitalized for COVID-19 during the course of the pandemic.


Mortality among patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has declined over the course of the pandemic. Mortality trends specifically in solid organ transplant recipients (SOTR) are unknown. Using data from a multicenter registry of SOTR hospitalized for COVID-19, we compared 28-day mortality between early 2020 (March 1, 2020-June 19, 2020) and late 2020 (June 20, 2020-December 31, 2020). Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess comorbidity-adjusted mortality. Time period of diagnosis was available for 1435/1616 (88.8%) SOTR and 971/1435 (67.7%) were hospitalized: 571/753 (75.8%) in early 2020 and 402/682 (58.9%) in late 2020 (p < .001). Crude 28-day mortality decreased between the early and late periods (112/571 [19.6%] vs. 55/402 [13.7%]) and remained lower in the late period even after adjusting for baseline comorbidities (aOR 0.67, 95% CI 0.46-0.98, p = .016). Between the early and late periods, the use of corticosteroids (≥6 mg dexamethasone/day) and remdesivir increased (62/571 [10.9%] vs. 243/402 [61.5%], p < .001 and 50/571 [8.8%] vs. 213/402 [52.2%], p < .001, respectively), and the use of hydroxychloroquine and IL-6/IL-6 receptor inhibitor decreased (329/571 [60.0%] vs. 4/492 [1.0%], p < .001 and 73/571 [12.8%] vs. 5/402 [1.2%], p < .001, respectively). Mortality among SOTR hospitalized for COVID-19 declined between early and late 2020, consistent with trends reported in the general population. The mechanism(s) underlying improved survival require further study.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Heldman, Madeleine R, Olivia S Kates, Kassem Safa, Camille N Kotton, Sarah J Georgia, Julie M Steinbrink, Barbara D Alexander, Marion Hemmersbach-Miller, et al. (2022). Changing trends in mortality among solid organ transplant recipients hospitalized for COVID-19 during the course of the pandemic. American journal of transplantation : official journal of the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, 22(1). pp. 279–288. 10.1111/ajt.16840 Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Madeleine Rose Heldman

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Julie Steinbrink

Assistant Professor of Medicine

I am a transplant infectious diseases physician. My clinical care focuses on the management of infections in immunocompromised patients, including solid organ and bone marrow transplant recipients, as well as cancer patients. My research focuses on developing noninvasive biomarker diagnostics and severity prognostic tools for infectious diseases in immunocompromised patients.


Barbara Dudley Alexander

Professor of Medicine

Clinical research related to infectious complications of solid organ and bone marrow transplantation, with a particular interest in the treatment and rapid diagnosis of fungal disease. Training the next generation of Transplant Infectious Disease Physicians is a special focus of mine as the Principal Investigator of our Interdisciplinary T32 Training Program funded the NIH. 

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.