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Most COVID-19 Fatalities Are Men Over 50 With Chronic Disease

Most patients had very low eosinophils on admission; common symptoms include fever, shortness of breath

TUESDAY, April 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Most fatal cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) occur in men aged older than 50 years with noncommunicable chronic diseases, according to a study published online April 3 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Yingzhen Du, from the Chinese PLA General Hospital in Beijing, and colleagues reported the clinical features of 85 fatal cases with COVID-19 in two hospitals in Wuhan to define risk factors for death. Medical records were obtained for 85 fatal cases between Jan. 9 and Feb. 15, 2020.

The researchers found that the median patient age was 65.8 years, and 72.9 percent of patients were male. Common symptoms included fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, and dyspnea (91.8, 58.8, 58.8, and 70.6 percent, respectively). The most common comorbidities were hypertension, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. On admission, 81.2 percent of patients had very low eosinophil counts. Respiratory failure, shock, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and arrhythmia (94.1, 81.2, 74.1, and 60 percent, respectively) were some of the complications observed. Most of the patients received antibiotic, antiviral, and glucocorticoid treatments (90.6, 91.8, and 76.5 percent, respectively); intravenous immunoglobulin and interferon α2b were received by 44.7 and 38.8 percent, respectively.

"It is hoped that this work will have value in helping clinicians identify patients with poor prognosis at an early stage by being aware of some of the alarming clinical characteristics presented by patients before they died from COVID-19, and help guide appropriate and effective management for future patients," the authors write.

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