The University of Louisville Journal of Respiratory Infections


Background: The risk of death due to COVID-19 among hospitalized patients is known to be higher in older adults and those with underlying health conditions. Understanding the percentage of patients who are at increased risk of death due COVID-19 and how this varies between age groups will inform the healthcare community how to evaluate the risk of COVID-19, and better design healthcare and economic policies.

Methods: We conducted a literature search for studies published between December 2019 until May 16, 2020 in PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane (CENTRAL). Descriptive statistics were performed.

Results: We reviewed 14 studies of which 13 were retrospective and one was prospective. Eleven studies were conducted in Wuhan, China. A grand total of 11,938 COVID-19 confirmed patients were reviewed. Among these patients, 7637 (64%) were males. Our review reported hypertension (41%), diabetes (21%), cardiac diseases (14%), COPD (8%), chronic kidney disease (4%) and cerebrovascular disease (10%) as the most common underlying diseases among patients who died during hospitalization due to COVID-19. The total number of patients died in the hospital was 1744 (15%). Among patients who died in the hospital, 1% patients were 30-39 years, 16% patients were 40-59 years and 83% patients were more than 60 years of age.

Conclusions: Older patients with underlying diseases appear to be at higher risk of mortality from COVID-19. Comorbidities are significant predictors of mortality in COVID-19 patients. There is an urgent need to know the epidemiology of the novel virus and characterize its potential impact.


The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.



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