Objective: This study aims to provide scientific basis for rapid screening and early diagnosis of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) through analysing the clinical characteristics and early imaging/laboratory findings of the inpatients. Methods: Three hundred and three patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 from the East Hospital of People's Hospital of Wuhan University (Wuhan, China) were selected and divided into four groups: youth (20-40 years, n = 64), middle-aged (41-60 years, n = 89), older (61-80 years, n = 118) and elderly (81-100 years, n = 32). The clinical characteristics and imaging/laboratory findings including chest computed tomography (CT), initial blood count, C-reactive protein [CRP]), procalcitonin (PCT) and serum total IgE were captured and analysed. Results: (1) The first symptoms of all age groups were primarily fever (76%), followed by cough (12%) and dyspnoea (5%). Beside fever, the most common initial symptom of elderly patients was fatigue (13%). (2) Fever was the most common clinical manifestation (80%), with moderate fever being the most common (40%), followed by low fever in patients above 40 years old and high fever in those under 40 years (35%). Cough was the second most common clinical manifestation and was most common (80%) in the middle-aged. Diarrhoea was more common in the middle-aged (21%) and the older (19%). Muscle ache was more common in the middle-aged (15%). Chest pain was more common in the youth (13%), and 13% of the youth had no symptoms. (3) The proportion of patients with comorbidities increased with age. (4) Seventy-one per cent of the patients had positive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction results and 29% had positive chest CT scans before admission to the hospital. (5) Lesions in all lobes of the lung were observed as the main chest CT findings (76%). (6) Decrease in lymphocytes and increase in monocytes were common in the patients over 40 years old but rare in the youth. Eosinophils (50%), red blood cells (39%) and haemoglobin (40%) decreased in all age groups. (7) The proportion of patients with CRP and PCT elevation increased with age. (8) Thirty-nine per cent of the patients had elevated IgE, with the highest proportion in the old (49%). Conclusion: The clinical characteristics and imaging/laboratory findings of COVID-19 patients vary in different age groups. Personalised criteria should be formulated according to different age groups in the early screening and diagnosis stage.
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- clinical characteristics
- coronavirus disease 2019
- laboratory investigations