Retrospective analysis of laboratory testing in 54 patients with severe- or critical-type 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia

Lab Invest. 2020 Jun;100(6):794-800. doi: 10.1038/s41374-020-0431-6. Epub 2020 Apr 27.


Timely analysis of the laboratory characteristics associated with 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) can assist with clinical diagnosis and prognosis. This study is a collection of clinical data from 54 hospitalized adult patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in the Zhongfa Xincheng district of China at Tongji Hospital of Huazhong University of Science and Technology from January 28, 2020 to February 11, 2020. The average age of the patients was 61.8 ± 14.5 years, and the predominant age group was 50-79. The proportion of critical-type patients with comorbidities was higher than that of severe-type patients. Lymphocyte counts were significantly reduced in routine bloodwork for all patients, but significantly lower in critical-type patients than that in severe-type patients. Prolongation of prothrombin times (PT) and elevation of fibrinogen degradation products (FDPs) and D-dimers (D-Ds) were detected in coagulation function tests, and more significant changes were observed in critical-type patients compared to severe-type patients. Serum ferritin levels were sensitive to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection but could not be used for disease assessment. In addition, levels of two inflammatory factors, soluble interleukin-2 receptor (sIL-2R) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) were significantly increased in all patients, but higher in critical-type patients than in severe-type patients. Moreover, kidney injury was the second-most common organ affected by COVID-19 followed by heart and liver. Kidney and heart injury were more severe in critical-type patients than in severe-type patients. All of the 31 severe-type patients recovered. Of the critical-type patients, six died and 17 recovered. The length of hospital stay for critical-type patients was significantly longer for severe-type patients. In summary, increased lymphocyte counts, prolonged PT, secondary increases in fibrinolytic activity and increases in sIL-2R and IL-6 are typical features of COVID-19 and are associated with disease severity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19
  • China
  • Comorbidity
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Ferritins / blood
  • Fibrinolysis
  • Heart Diseases / virology
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Kidney Diseases / virology
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Viral / physiopathology*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / blood
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • IL6 protein, human
  • Interleukin-6
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Ferritins