J Korean Med Sci.  2020 Jun;35(23):e223. 10.3346/jkms.2020.35.e223.

Risk Factors for Mortality and Respiratory Support in Elderly Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19 in Korea

  • 1Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Keimyung University Dongsan Hospital, Keimyung University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea
  • 2Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Dankook University School of Medicine, Cheonan, Korea
  • 4Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Seongnam Citizens Medical Center, Seongnam, Korea
  • 5Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea


The mortality risk of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is higher in patients with older age, and many elderly patients are reported to require advanced respiratory support.
We reviewed medical records of 98 patients aged ≥ 65 years who were hospitalized with COVID-19 during a regional outbreak in Daegu/Gyeongsangbuk-do province of Korea. The outcome measures were in-hospital mortality and the treatment with mechanical ventilation (MV) or high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC).
The median age of the patients was 72 years; 55.1% were female. Most (74.5%) had at least one underlying condition. Overall case fatality rate (CFR) was 20.4%, and median time to death after admission was 8 days. The CFR was 6.1% among patients aged 65–69 years, 22.7% among those aged 70–79 years, and 38.1% among those aged ≥ 80 years. The CFR among patients who required MV was 43.8%, and the proportion of patients received MV/HFNC was 28.6%. Nosocomial acquisition, diabetes, chronic lung diseases, and chronic neurologic diseases were significant risk factors for both death and MV/HFNC. Hypotension, hypoxia, and altered mental status on admission were also associated with poor outcome. CRP > 8.0 mg/dL was strongly associated with MV/HFNC (odds ratio, 26.31; 95% confidence interval, 7.78–88.92; P < 0.001), and showed better diagnostic characteristics compared to commonly used clinical scores.
Patients aged ≥ 80 years had a high risk of requiring MV/HFNC, and mortality among those severe patients was very high. Severe initial presentation and laboratory abnormalities, especially high CRP, were identified as risk factors for mortality and severe hospital course.


COVID-19; Outcome; Elderly; Risk Factors
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