Patients from the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups admitted to hospital with Covid-19 are on average a decade younger than white patients, preliminary research suggests.
A study led by King’s College London found those from BAME communities admitted to hospital with coronavirus have an average age of 63 – 10 years lower than the average for Caucasian patients.
However, the researchers said they found the ethnicity of patients did not affect the risk of death associated with Covid-19.
The results of the study are published in the pre-print server medRxiv and are yet to be peer reviewed.
Lead author Ajay Shah, professor of medicine at King’s College Hospital, said: “Our study shows that people of black and minority ethnic backgrounds have a disproportionately high rate of requiring hospitalisation for Covid-19.
“People of BAME background are on average much younger than our white patients and have health inequalities such as higher levels of diabetes and high blood pressure.”
The researchers analysed data of 1,200 patients admitted between March 1 and May 12 to King’s College Hospital NHS Trust.
Of them, 368 (30.7%) were from BAME communities and a majority (310) were black.
The findings revealed BAME patients had a higher propensity for hypertension (63.3%) and diabetes (48.6%) while white patients were more likely to have heart-related issues (21.2%).
Data showed 288 patients died after being infected with coronavirus, including 151 white and 68 BAME patients.
Among the 168 patients in critical care, 17.5% were from BAME groups, compared with 10% who were white.
According to the researchers, the findings indicate ethnicity does not have a bearing on final patient outcome – death or admission to critical care.
Prof Shah added: “Some good news is that the chances of recovery in those admitted appear to be similar for different ethnicities.
“We are now working to identify why the rates of hospital admission are so much higher in BAME groups and why much younger patients are affected.”