COVID-19 experience of the major pandemic response center in the capital: Results of the pandemic's first month in Turkey

Turk J Med Sci. 2020 Jul 19. doi: 10.3906/sag-2006-164. Online ahead of print.


Background/aim: Aim of this study is to evaluate the epidemiological, clinical characteristics and the parameters that determine the clinical course and prognosis of the COVID-19 patients admitted to the Ankara City Hospital during the first month of the pandemic In Turkey.

Materials and methods: SARS-CoV-2 PCR positive patients who were hospitalized between March 10 and April 10, 2020 were included.

Results: Among 222 patients, mean age was higher in SARI/critical disease group (p < 0,001). Median time from illness onset to admission, presence of co-morbidity, especially coronary artery disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, was significantly higher in severe acute respiratory illness (SARI)/critical disease group (p < 0.05). Cough and fever were the most common symptoms, while anosmia and loss of taste were observed in 8.6 % and 7.7 % patients, respectively. Mortality rate was 5.4 %. High neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio, low lymphocyte, monocyte and platelet count, elevated liver enzymes, low GFR, high levels of muscle enzymes, ferritin and IL-6 on admission were found to be associated with SARI/critical disease (p<0.05). Bilateral ground-glass opacity and patchy infiltration were more frequently seen in SARI/critical disease group (p < 0.001). Patients older than 65 years have 8-fold increased risk for development of SARI/critical disease.

Conclusion: This cohort study regarding COVID-19 cases in Turkey reveals that older age, presence of co-morbidity, bilateral infiltration on CT, high neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio, low monocyte and platelet count, elevated liver enzymes, low GFR, high levels of muscle enzymes, and high levels of ferritin and IL-6 on admission are predictors of SARI and severe disease.

Keywords: COVID-19; IL-6; Turkey; epidemiology; mortality; prognosis.