COVID-19 Research Paper Volume 12, Issue 22 pp 22405—22412

Clinical characteristics of the first known cases of death caused by COVID-19 pneumonia

Fan-Zhen Kong1, *, , Yi Wang2, *, , Mei-Xia Wang3, *, , Qing-Zhang Cheng3, , Robert Logan4, , Guan-Hui Wu3, , Si-Ming Hu5, ,

  • 1 Department of Psychological Nursing, Suzhou Guangji Hospital, The Affiliated Guangji Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, China
  • 2 Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Fifth People’s Hospital of Suzhou, The Affiliated Infectious Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, China
  • 3 Department of Neurology, Suzhou Municipal Hospital, The Affiliated Suzhou Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Suzhou, China
  • 4 Department of Biology, Eastern Nazarene College, Quincy, MA 02170, USA
  • 5 Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Suzhou Municipal Hospital, The Affiliated Suzhou Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Suzhou, China
* Equal contribution

Received: April 6, 2020       Accepted: September 28, 2020       Published: November 20, 2020
How to Cite

Copyright © 2020 Kong et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Severe pneumonia caused by COVID-19 has resulted in many deaths worldwide. Here, we analyzed the clinical characteristics of the first 17 reported cases of death due to COVID-19 pneumonia in Wuhan, China. Demographics, initial symptoms, complications, chest computerized tomography (CT) images, treatments, and prognoses were collected and analyzed from the National Health Committee of China data. The first 17 reported deaths from COVID-19 were predominately in older men; 82.35% of patients were older than 65 years, and 76.47% were males. The most common initial symptoms were fever or fatigue (14 cases, 82.35%), respiratory symptoms, such as cough (12 cases, 70.59%), and neurological symptoms, such as headache (3 cases, 17.65%). The most common finding of chest CT was viral pneumonia (5 cases, 29.41%). Anti-infectives (11 cases, 64.71%) and mechanical ventilation (9 cases, 52.94%) were commonly used for treatment. Most of the patients (16 cases, 94.12%) died of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Our findings show that advanced age and male gender are effective predictors of COVID-19 mortality, and suggest that early interventions to reduce the incidence of ARDS may improve prognosis of COVID-19 pneumonia patients.


COVID-19: coronavirus disease 2019; MODS: multiple organ dysfunction syndrome; COPD: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; ARDS: acute respiratory distress syndrome; CT: computerized tomography.