Coronavirus: victims can present various chronic pathologies
A case study conducted in Italy on hundreds of patients who died due to COVID-19 indicates that most of them already suffered from one or more concurrent chronic conditions prior to infection. The most important comorbid factor is high blood pressure.
The new coronavirus is considered highly contagious for three reasons. The first is that each infected person will infect at least three people in the absence of protective measures, the second that an infected person who does not feel symptoms can also infect other people, and the third is that around 15% of cases result complications, of which 5% even require hospitalization in intensive care. If COViD-19 infection affects all age groups, including the youngest, it causes death, especially in the elderly and the most fragile, especially in those with a pre-existing chronic pathology.
This trend is confirmed by a study carried out in Italy, one of the countries most affected by the epidemic, by the Higher Institute of Health and broadcast by Agence France Presse. The analysis, based on a sample of 10,026 patients who died and tested positive for COVID-19, first revealed that the average age of patients who died from the infection was 78 years. "The average age of patients who died from COVID-19 is more than 15 years older than that of patients who contracted the infection," he said. The researchers were interested in the pre-existing chronic pathologies in these deceased patients, diagnosed before being infected by SARS-CoV-2.
Hypertension and diabetes, the most frequent chronic diseases
This figure was obtained from 909 deceased persons for whom it was possible to analyze the hospitalization medical records. The results show that the average number of chronic diseases observed in this population is 2.7. In total, 19 patients had no pathology, 197 had one pathology, 223 had two pathologies, and 470, or more than half, had three or more pathologies. What are the most common? The most commonly identified condition, present in 73% of study members, is high blood pressure (hypertension), which is an abnormal increase in blood pressure in the wall of the arteries.
Second (31.5% of the panel) is type 2 diabetes, followed by ischemic heart disease, a condition that affects the vessels that supply blood, oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle, kidney failure, chronic atrial fibrillation (a disorder of the heart rhythm that causes the heart to beat irregularly), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The classification is completed with recent cancer (less than 5 years), heart failure (inability of the heart to move blood normally), dementia, stroke (neurological manifestation that occurs suddenly), and chronic liver disease.
Respiratory failure, the complication that should alert
The study also looks at the main symptoms that patients experience before reaching the hospital. The graph shows that the most frequently observed symptoms are fever, dyspnea (feeling short of breath) and cough, while diarrhea and hemoptysis (coughing up blood) are less common.
Regarding the complications found, respiratory failure was the most common, followed by acute kidney injury, acute myocardial injury, and superinfection. Finally, the researchers affirm that the average time between the appearance of symptoms and the death of the patient is 9 days: 4 days between its onset and hospitalization and 5 days between it and death.
This information confirms the recent recommendations of the High Public Health Committee that considers that people at risk of developing a serious form of SARS-CoV-2 infection are people aged 70 years or older, patients with a cardiovascular history (complicated arterial hypertension, medical history stroke), unbalanced insulin-dependent diabetics, people with chronic respiratory disease, patients with chronic kidney failure on dialysis or cancer patients under treatment. For these people, the daily application of barrier gestures is even more essential.