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Older Adults, Men, Preexisting Conditions Tied to COVID-19 Death

Patients admitted to ICU lived longer, but bed shortages in Wuhan prevented admission for all who needed it

THURSDAY, April 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have identified the most common clinical characteristics among 109 patients out of 1,017 with confirmed novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pneumonia who died of COVID-19-related pneumonia in Wuhan, China; their findings were published online April 7 in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Rong-Hui Du, M.D., from Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital in China, and colleagues describe the process of hospitalization and critical care among 109 decedents with COVID-19 pneumonia treated at three hospitals in Wuhan, China.

The researchers report that the mean age of the 109 decedents with COVID-19 pneumonia was 70.7 years, and 32.1 percent of patients were female. The majority of patients (78.0 percent) suffered from one or more underlying comorbidities. All patients experienced multiple organ failure, especially respiratory failure and heart failure, and were critically ill at admission. There were a mean 22.3 days from onset of symptom to death. All patients needed intensive care unit (ICU) admission, but limited availability enabled only 46.8 percent to be admitted. For the ICU group versus the non-ICU group, the period of hospitalization to death was 15.9 days versus 12.5 days, respectively.

"Since multiple organ failure, especially respiratory failure and heart failure, occurred rapidly after hospital admission, ICU care should be provided as soon as possible for severe patients with COVID-19 pneumonia," the authors write. "A social distancing policy should be proposed to slow the rate of cases and prevent health care systems from being overwhelmed by cases for whom they cannot provide ICU care."

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