Seniors, people with hypertension, abnormal rapid breathing have higher chance of death due to COVID-19 – PCP study

Published March 26, 2021, 9:02 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Clinicians and doctors may have to keenly monitor coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients who are 60 years old and above, and have hypertension and abnormal rapid breathing, after a study conducted by the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) showed that such factors were associated with an increase in COVID deaths in the country.

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato “Boy” de la Peña said the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) supported the PCP for the conduct of a retrospective, multicenter, observational cohort study of 2,884 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in 89 hospitals in the country from February to July 2020. 

“In conclusion, the study has comprehensively confirmed factors associated with the disease and its mortality and was found to be consistent with results from studies done in other countries. Factors associated with an increase in mortality include the following: age above 60 years old, presence of tachypnea, hypertension as comorbidity, WBC (white blood cells)  greater 10×109 per liter, and an elevated serum LDH (lactate dehydrogenase),” he said during his weekly report on Friday, March 26.

In the same briefing, PCP’s Dr. Leslie Quiwa said they recorded 18.5 percent mortality in hospitals. 

He noted that “60 years old and above have three times higher chance of death due to COVID-19.” 

“The average death of death due to COVID-19 is 64 years old. While, the average of recoveries is 46.7 years old,” Quiwa said.

He said based on their multivariate regression analysis, the most significantly associated factors with mortality in the Philippines were: “age >60 years, hypertension as co-morbidity, tachypnea (> 22/minute), WBC count > 10 x 109/L (per liter), and elevated serum(LDH (all p<0.05).”

De la Peña noted that it has been recommended that future epidemiologic studies on COVID-19 patients should come up with a system to standardize data collection, units of measure, and reporting among all participating hospitals. 

“A national registry with continuous support and budget from the Department of Health and cooperation from all local government health surveillance units should give us a more accurate and comprehensive profile of COVID-19 in the country,” he said.

Quiwa’s team also recommended that existing treatment algorithms in the country be reviewed and modified as necessary in relation to the findings of the study to ensure that the highest standards of care are provided to patients.