Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Design and analysis of outcomes following SARS-CoV-2 infection in veterans.

Smith VA, Berkowitz TSZ, Hebert P, Wong ES, Niederhausen M, Pura JA, Berry K, Green P, Korpak A, Fox A, Baraff A, Hickok A, Shahoumian TA, Bohnert ASB, Hynes DM, Boyko EJ, Ioannou GN, Iwashyna TJ, Bowling CB, O'Hare AM, Maciejewski ML. Design and analysis of outcomes following SARS-CoV-2 infection in veterans. BMC medical research methodology. 2023 Apr 4; 23(1):81.

Related HSR&D Project(s)

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


BACKGROUND: Understanding how SARS-CoV-2 infection impacts long-term patient outcomes requires identification of comparable persons with and without infection. We report the design and implementation of a matching strategy employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs'' (VA) COVID-19 Observational Research Collaboratory (CORC) to develop comparable cohorts of SARS-CoV-2 infected and uninfected persons for the purpose of inferring potential causative long-term adverse effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the Veteran population. METHODS: In a retrospective cohort study, we identified VA health care system patients who were and were not infected with SARS-CoV-2 on a rolling monthly basis. We generated matched cohorts within each month utilizing a combination of exact and time-varying propensity score matching based on electronic health record (EHR)-derived covariates that can be confounders or risk factors across a range of outcomes. RESULTS: From an initial pool of 126,689,864 person-months of observation, we generated final matched cohorts of 208,536 Veterans infected between March 2020-April 2021 and 3,014,091 uninfected Veterans. Matched cohorts were well-balanced on all 39 covariates used in matching after excluding patients for: no VA health care utilization; implausible age, weight, or height; living outside of the 50 states or Washington, D.C.; prior SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis per Medicare claims; or lack of a suitable match. Most Veterans in the matched cohort were male (88.3%), non-Hispanic (87.1%), white (67.2%), and living in urban areas (71.5%), with a mean age of 60.6, BMI of 31.3, Gagne comorbidity score of 1.4 and a mean of 2.3 CDC high-risk conditions. The most common diagnoses were hypertension (61.4%), diabetes (34.3%), major depression (32.2%), coronary heart disease (28.5%), PTSD (25.5%), anxiety (22.5%), and chronic kidney disease (22.5%). CONCLUSION: This successful creation of matched SARS-CoV-2 infected and uninfected patient cohorts from the largest integrated health system in the United States will support cohort studies of outcomes derived from EHRs and sample selection for qualitative interviews and patient surveys. These studies will increase our understanding of the long-term outcomes of Veterans who were infected with SARS-CoV-2.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.