Non-Typical Clinical Presentation of COVID-19 Patients in Association with Disease Severity and Length of Hospital Stay

J Pers Med. 2023 Jan 10;13(1):132. doi: 10.3390/jpm13010132.


Background: This study aimed to investigate the incidence of non-typical symptoms in ambulatory patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 infection and their potential association with disease progression.

Materials and methods: Data on the symptomatology of COVID-19 patients presenting to the fast-track emergency department were collected between March 2020 and March 2021. Fever, cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue-weakness were defined as "typical" symptoms, whereas all other symptoms such as nasal congestion, rhinorrhea, gastrointestinal symptoms, etc., were defined as "non-typical".

Results: A total of 570 COVID-19 patients with a mean age of 42.25 years were included, the majority of whom were male (61.3%; N = 349), and were divided according to their symptoms into two groups. The mean length of hospital stay was found to be 9.5 days. A higher proportion of patients without non-typical symptoms were admitted to the hospital (p = 0.001) and the ICU (p = 0.048) as well. No significant differences were observed between non-typical symptoms and outcome (p = 0.685). Patients who did not demonstrate at least one non-typical symptom had an extended length of stay (p = 0.041). No statistically significant differences in length of hospital stay were associated with individual symptoms.

Conclusion: With the possible exception of gastrointestinal symptoms, non-typical symptoms of COVID-19 at baseline appear to predispose to a milder disease.

Keywords: COVID-19 symptoms; ICU; atypical presentation; emergency department; length of stay.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.