dcyphr | Clinical characteristics of older patients infected with COVID-19: A descriptive study


The outbreak of the epidemic of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) brought a serious threat to life and health with the number of older patients infected with COVID-19 increasing in the world. Older people are more susceptible to many diseases than younger, including COVID-19 infection, which could dramatically increased the healthcare burden in an aging population. 


The scientists collected the data on the 60 older patients transferred by Beijing Emergency Medical Service (from Jan 20 to Feb 29, 2020) to the designated hospitals infected with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 and analyzed the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of them. The information they included were demographic, epidemiological, clinical, classification of severity and outcomes. They categorized all cases into three groups and compared the difference between aged 50–64 years (81 patients), 65–79 years (44 patients) and older than 80 years (16 patients).


Of the 60 older patients, the scientists categorized 44 patients into aged 65–79 years group, 16 patients into older than 80 years group. Furthermore, 56.7%% of all patients were male. Thirty-one patients had medical history record information, including hypertension (48.4%%), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (29.0%%), coronary heart disease (16.1%%), diabetes (9.7%%), cerebrovascular disease (6.5%%) and other diseases (25.8%%). 
The scientists found that the most common symptoms of COVID-19 infection were fever (78.3%%), cough (56.7%%), dyspnea (30.0%%), and fatigue (23.3%%). According to the scientists, the classification of severity had statistically significant differences between the three groups, compared with middle-aged patients and aged 65–79 years group, older than 80 years group had significant statistical differences in contacted to symptomatic case in 14 days. According to Figure 2, both the number of patients with underlying diseases and the severe patients were increased as aging. The scientists found that at Feb 29, 38.3% patients had discharged and 53.3%% patients remained in hospital, as the fatality of COVID-19 infection in elderly was 8.3%%. According to Figure 1, the fatality in the aged older than 80 years group was 18.8%%, significantly higher than those in other two groups. 


The scientists found that the most common symptoms were fever (78.3 %) and cough (56.7 %%) in the older patients, which were same as the results of many studies. Moreover the scientists claim that severe patients were significantly more than mild patients in older patients, which was similar with recent study that patients have more severe symptom in elderly population. The scientists claimed that their study has some limitations and that it would be better to cover as wide population as possible to get more accurate results.


The COVID-19 infection is generally susceptible with a relatively high fatality rate in older patients, there should pay more attention to the elderly patients with COVID-19 infection.