Study identifies characteristics of patients with fatal COVID-19
In a new study, researchers identified the most common characteristics of 85 COVID-19 patients who died in Wuhan, China in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. The study reports on commonalities of the largest group of coronavirus patient deaths to be studied to date. The paper was published online in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Results: The median age of the patients was 65.8 years and 72.9% were male. Common symptoms were fever (78 [91.8%]), shortness of breath (50 [58.8%]), fatigue (50 [58.8%]), dyspnea (60 [70.6%]). Hypertension, diabetes and coronary heart disease were the most common comorbidities. Notably, 81.2% patients had very low eosinophil counts at admission. Complications included respiratory failure (80 [94.1%]), shock (69 [81.2%]), ARDS (63 [74.1%]), arrhythmia (51 [60%]), etc. Most patients received antibiotic (77 [90.6%]), antiviral (78 [91.8%]) and glucocorticoids (65 [76.5%]) treatments. 38 patients [44.7%] and 33 [38.8%] received intravenous immunoglobulin and interferon α2b respectively.
Conclusions: In this depictive study of 85 fatal cases of COVID-19, most cases were male aged over 50 years old with noncommunicable chronic diseases. The majority of the patients died of multiple organ failure. Early onset of shortness of breath may be used as an observational symptom for COVID-19 exacerbations. Eosinophilopenia may indicate a poor prognosis. The combination of anti-microbial drugs did not offer considerable benefit to the outcome of this group of patients.