patient in hospital bed

A small study looking at coronavirus (COVID-19), has shown half of those who passed away while in hospital had other health conditions.

Although it is the first piece of research to look at risk factors among those who have the coronavirus, the results do not necessarily reflect the overall outcomes of the virus. 

The small Chinese trial involving 191 people from two hospitals in Wuhan, where the condition started, found nearly half of patients (48%) had other health conditions, such as high blood pressure (30%) and diabetes (19%).

The findings indicate that of the 191 people, 137 were discharged and 54 people passed away.

Researchers also discovered that older people with a high score on the Sequential Organ Failure Assessment were more likely to die from contracting the virus. In fact, the higher the score, the more likely the person’s condition would deteriorate because of organ failure caused by sepsis.

However, the research team pointed out there were several limitations to the study, which might have impacted the outcomes.

These included the fact that not all the laboratory tests (eg, d-dimer test) were carried out on each of the 191 participants, and a “lack of effective antivirals, inadequate adherence to standard supportive therapy, and high doses of corticosteroids, as well as the transfer of some patients to hospital late in their illness, might have also contributed to the poor outcomes in some patients”.

In addition, the fact people were already in hospital would also suggest that those who had developed the virus had already become quite unwell, which is why they were admitted in the first place.

Another co-author, Dr Zhibo Liu from Jinyintan Hospital, added: “Older age, showing signs of sepsis on admission, underlying diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes, and the prolonged use of non-invasive ventilation were important factors in the deaths of these patients.

“Poorer outcomes in older people may be due, in part, to the age-related weakening of the immune system and increased inflammation that could promote viral replication and more prolonged responses to inflammation, causing lasting damage to the heart, brain, and other organs.”

The findings were published in the Lancet journal.

If you think that you have contracted the virus, DO NOT go to your local pharmacy, GP surgery or Emergency Department or Minor Injuries Unit. Instead, you should visit the dedicated NHS 111 Coronavirus service at

For ongoing updates and the latest health guidelines relating to the Coronavirus visit The World Health Organisation, NHS England and Public Health England

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