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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2020, Vol. 18 ›› Issue (5): 395-400.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2020.07.002

• Original Clinical Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Clinical characteristics of coronavirus disease 2019 in patients aged 80 years and older

Jian-zhong Dang a, Gang-yan Zhu a, Ying-jie Yang a, Fang Zheng b   

  1. a Department of Geriatrics, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan 430060, Hubei Province, China
    b Department of Pediatrics, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430022, Hubei Province, China
  • Received:2020-04-08 Accepted:2020-06-23 Online:2020-09-10 Published:2020-07-13
  • Contact: Jian-zhong Dang


oronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has raised concern around the world as an epidemic or pandemic. As data on COVID-19 has grown, it has become clear that older adults have a disproportionately high rate of death from COVID-19. This study describes the early clinical characteristics of COVID-19 in patients with more than 80 years of age.


Epidemiological, clinical, laboratory, radiological, and treatment data from 17 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 between January 20 and February 20, 2020 were collected and analyzed retrospectively. Treatment outcomes among subgroups of patients with non-severe and severe symptoms of COVID-19 were compared.


Of the 17 hospitalized patients with COVID-19, the median age was 88.0 years (interquartile range, 86.6–90.0 years; range, 80.0–100.0 years) and 12 (70.6%) were men. The age distribution of patients was not significantly different between non-severe group and severe group. All patients had chronic pre-existing conditions. Hypertension and cardiovascular diseases were the most common chronic conditions in both subgroups. The most common symptoms at the onset of COVID-19 were fever (n = 13; 76.5%), fatigue (n = 11; 64.7%), and cough (n = 5; 29.4%). Lymphopenia was observed in all patients, and lymphopenia was significantly more severe in the severe group than that in non-severe group (0.4 × 109/L vs 1.2 × 109/L, P = 0.014). The level of serum creatinine was higher in the severe group than in the non-severe group (99.0 μmol/L vs 62.5 μmol/L, P = 0.038). The most common features of chest computed tomography (CT) images were nodular foci in 10 (58.8%) patients and pleural thickening in 7 (41.2%) patients. All patients received antiviral therapy, while some patients also received intravenous antibiotics therapy (76.5%), Chinese medicinal preparation therapy (Lianhuaqingwen capsule, 64.7%), corticosteroids (35.3%) or immunoglobin (29.4%). Eight patients (47.1%) were transferred to the intensive care unit because of complications. Ten patients (58.8%) received intranasal oxygen, while 3 (17.6%) received non-invasive mechanical ventilation, and 4 (23.5%) received high-?ow oxygen. As of June 20, 7 (41.2%) patients had been discharged and 10 (58.8% of this cohort, 77.8% of severe patients) had died.


The mortality of patients aged 80 years and older with severe COVID-19 symptoms was high. Lymphopenia was a characteristic laboratory result in these patients, and the severity of lymphopenia was indicative of the severity of COVID-19. However, the majority of patients with COVID-19 in this age cohort had atypical symptoms, and early diagnosis depends on prompt use of a viral nucleic acid test.

Key words: Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, Older patients

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