J Korean Med Sci. 2020 Aug 17;35(32):e297. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2020.35.e297.
BACKGROUND: There is limited information describing the presenting characteristics and dynamic clinical changes in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection diagnosed in the early phase of illness. This study is a case series of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) admitted to 11 hospitals in Korea.
METHODS: Patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection by positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing of respiratory specimens by active surveillance that were finally discharged between February 20 and April 30, 2020 were included. Patients were classified into mild and non-mild groups on initial admission according to oxygen demand and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score, and the mild group was followed up and subgrouped into non-aggravation and aggravation groups.
RESULTS: A total of 161 patients with SARS-CoV2 infection were enrolled. Among the mild group of 136 patients, 11.7% of patients experienced clinical aggravation during hospitalization, but there was no initial clinical parameter on admission predicting their aggravation. Fever (odds ratio [OR], 4.56), thrombocytopenia (OR, 12.87), fever (OR, 27.22) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) > 300 U/L (OR, 18.35), and CRP > 1 mg/dL (OR, 11.31) significantly indicated aggravation in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th 5-day periods, respectively. PCR positivity lasted for a median of 22 days and 32 days after the onset of illness in the non-aggravation and aggravation groups, respectively.
CONCLUSION: Old age was associated with early severe presentation. Clinical aggravation among asymptomatic or mild patients could not be predicted initially but was heralded by fever and several laboratory markers during the clinical course.