S. Korean researchers find four risk factors for severe COVID-19 illness
Updated: 2020-06-18 17:05:41 KST
Which patients are most likely to become severely ill from COVID-19?
That was the question that brought together doctors in Yeungnam University Medical Center in Daegu, once the epicenter of South Korea's coronavirus outbreak.
After analyzing some 110 local patients, they identified four factors that increased the likelihood of patients being transferred to an Intensive Care Unit or dying.
The first factor is fever.
Those with temperatures higher than 37.8 degrees Celsius were nearly four times more likely to become high-risk patients.
The second factor is diabetes, with nearly half of diabetic patients developing severe illness.
The chronic disease has been known to make patients more susceptible to illness from infectious diseases, and this finding suggests that COVID-19 is no exception.
The third factor is having a heart condition, and the last factor, is oxygen saturation rate basically not having enough oxygen in the blood.
"Scientists have found out COVID-19 damages cardiac muscles, so having a pre-existing condition could increase vulnerability. And if you have low oxygen saturation, that could mean that pneumonia has already advanced to a certain degree."
If you have one of these symptoms, you have a 13 percent chance of becoming severely ill; if you have two 60 percent. And if you have three or more 100 percent.
Published in the Journal of Korean Medical Science earlier this month, the study marks the first of its kind to be released in the country.
"It can help doctors treat high-risk patients from the early stages of the disease, which was not so easy because we know little of the virus and it's spreading too fast."
But he added the findings should be tested more widely in order to be generalized.
Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News.