A recent study has identified the most common characteristics of COVID-19 patients who died in Wuhan during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. This is the first to report on the commonalities of the largest group of COVID-19 patient deaths.

The research, published in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine titled ‘Clinical Features of 85 Fatal Cases of COVID-19 From Wuhan: A Retrospective Observational Study,’ revealed an analysis of the electronic health records of the patients who died from the deadly disease.

“The greatest number of deaths in our cohort was in males over 50 with non-communicable chronic diseases. We hope that this study conveys the seriousness of COVID-19 and emphasizes the risk groups of males over 50 with chronic comorbid conditions including hypertension (high blood pressure), coronary heart disease and diabetes," MedicalXpress quoted the study authors.

The study examined the medical records of the dead patients including their medical histories, disease exposure, chronic diseases and comorbidities they had, symptoms, laboratory findings, scan results as well as clinical management.

Here’s what they noted:

  • The median age: 65.8
  • 72.9% of them were men
  • Most common symptoms noted: fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue
  • Most common comorbidities: high blood pressure, diabetes, and coronary heart disease
  • More than 80% of them had very low eosinophil count on admission
  • Complications: respiratory failure, shock, acute respiratory distress syndrome, cardiac arrhythmia
  • Disease management: antibiotics, antivirals, and glucocorticoids. Some were given intravenous immunoglobulin or interferon-alpha-2b
  • Esinophilopenia indicated a poor prognosis
  • Early-onset of shortness of breath can be used as an observational symptom of COVID-19
  • The combination of antiviral and antibiotics failed to help these patients
  • Majority of them died from multiple organ failure

"Our study, which investigated patients from Wuhan, China who died in the early phases of this pandemic, identified certain characteristics. As the disease has spread to other regions, the observations from these areas may be the same, or different. Genetics may play a role in the response to the infection, and the course of the pandemic may change as the virus mutates as well. Since this is a new pandemic that is constantly shifting, we think the medical community needs to keep an open mind as more and more studies are conducted," MedicalXpress quoted the study authors.

With Madrid's funeral services overwhelmed and hospitals on the brink of collapse from the surge in patients, officials have commandeered the Palacio de Hielo ice skating rink to serve as a temporary morgue. Spain's coronavirus death toll is now 3,434 aft With Madrid's funeral services overwhelmed and hospitals on the brink of collapse from the surge in patients, officials have commandeered the Palacio de Hielo ice skating rink to serve as a temporary morgue. Spain's coronavirus death toll is now 3,434 after 738 people died over the past 24 hours, taking the toll above that of China's. Photo: AFPTV / Benjamin BOULY RAMES