Megan Szymanski

Major: Pre Nursing BSN
University College

The Effects of Comorbidities in a COVID-19 Positive Population in Central Indiana

This study evaluated the effects of comorbidities and/or drug intoxication in a COVID-19 suspicious population. A group of deceased patients were brought to the Marion County Coroner's Office for determination of cause of death and possibility of COVID-19 infection. In this study we evaluated 48 cases and sections of lung samples were collected for this study. Patients that were already COVID-19 positive were not taken into the office and went straight to the funeral homes. Approximately 50% of cases turned out to be COVID-19 positive. The most common cause of COVID-19 lung disease was interstitial pneumonia, alveolar necrosis, bronchiolar necrosis, and formation of microthrombi in the lung. The most common comorbidities were drug intoxication followed by pneumonia and heart disease. The common drugs in this study were acetylfentanyl, cocaine, ethanol, fentanyl, methamphetamines, morphine, and sertraline. Drug intoxication was found in 10 people. Other natural causes of death were trauma, diabetes, and hemorrhage. Medical history indicated many people were sent to the morgue due to flu symptoms, SOB, fever, HTN, and diabetes. In conclusion, the drug intoxication cases were usually acute and were positive for COVID-19, the cause of death in these cases were found to be acute drug intoxication.

Supervisor: Dr. George Sandusky and Emily Hulsey

Department: IU School of Medicine, Department of Pathology