Updated: 1/19/2022


Review Topic
  • Snapshot
    • A 68-year-old man presents to the emergency department with cough and shortness of breath. The patient reports going to an urgent care approximately 2 weeks ago for abdominal pain. He has a medical history of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and severe asthma. His temperature is 101°F (38.3°C), blood pressure is 158/95 mmHg, pulse is 100/min, and respirations are 26/min with an oxygen saturation of 85% on 6L nasal cannula. The patient is subsequently intubated, and a CT of the chest demonstrates ground glass opacities, fine reticular opacities, and vascular thickening. A nasal swab is positive for SARS-CoV-2.
  • Introduction
    • Overview
      • a betacoronavirus that is designated as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
        • a positive sense single-stranded RNA virus
      • SARS-CoV-2 is in the same subgenus as severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus (SARS-CoV)
      • enters cells via the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptors, especially on epithelium that line the respiratory tract
      • TMPRSS2 primes spike protein on SARS-CoV-2 for entry
      • the incubation period is thought to be 2-14 days post-exposure
      • illness severity of this infection ranges from mild to critical
        • mild (~81% of cases)
          • no dyspnea
        • severe (~14%)
          • dyspnea
          • respiratory rate ≥ 30/min
          • hypoxia
        • critical (~5%)
          • respiratory failure
          • shock
          • multiorgan dysfunction
    • Epidemiology
      • incidence
        • United States cases
        • worldwide cases
      • risk factors
        • close contact with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19
        • residence or travel to areas with high incidence of COVID-19
    • Transmission
      • person-to-person transmission
        • thought to mainly occur via respiratory droplets
          • the virus can be released into the air when the infected person coughs or sneezes
          • the virus reaching the host's mucous membrane can result in infection
        • can also be transmitted longer distances via airborne route
          • studies suggest that droplets may get aerosolized and be carried > 6 ft (2 meters) with speaking, coughing, or sneezing
      • fomite transmission
        • touching an infected surface and subsequently touching one's eyes, nose, or mouth can result in infection
          • therefore, disinfectant is recommended
      • fecal-oral transmission
        • the SARS-CoV-2 RNA has been detected in stool, so fecal-oral transmission is possible
    • Prognosis
      • unfavorable factors
        • older age (≥ 65 years of age)
          • more likely to develop severe disease
        • chronic medical conditions
          • diabetes
          • cardiovascular disease
          • hypertension
          • chronic lung disease
          • chronic kidney disease
          • cancer
          • body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m2
        • immunocompromising conditions
          • transplant patients on immunosuppressant drugs
        • certain laboratory derrangements
          • ↑ D-dimer
          • ↑ ferritin and C-reactive protein
          • ↑ creatine phosphokinase
          • ↑ troponin
          • ↑ lactate dehydrogenase
          • ↑ prothrombin time
          • acute kidney injury
          • severe lymphopenia
  • Presentation
    • Symptoms
      • fever (~99% of cases)
      • fatigue (~70%)
      • dry cough (~60%)
      • myalgias (~35%)
      • dyspnea (~30%)
      • sputum (~27%)
      • anosmia (10-50%)
      • patients may develop gastrointestinal symptoms
        • nausea (~12%)
        • diarrhea (~19%)
  • Imaging
    • Chest CT
      • findings
        • ground-glass opacification (GGO)
          • consolidative abnormalities may or may not be present
          • more likely to affect both lungs, particularly in the lower lobes and in a peripheral distribution
  • Studies
    • Reverse-transcription PCR (RT-PCR) for SARS-CoV-2
      • procedure
        • collection of a nasopharyngeal swab
          • orophaygneal swab can also be collected (not essential)
        • sputum collection in patients with a productive cough
    • Serum labs
      • WBC count
        • variable (leukopenia, leukocytosis, and lymphopenia)
          • lymphopenia is more common
      • lactate dehydrogenase and ferritin level are commonly elevated
      • IL-6 may be elevated
  • Differential
    • COVID-19 Differential Diagnosis
      VirusFeverCoughFatigueMyalgiaHeadacheRhinitisSore Throat
      Common coldRare↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑
  • Treatment
    • A registry of clinical trials can be found here
      • lopinavir-ritonavir
        • a combined protease inhibitor
      • remdesivir
        • a novel nucleotide analog that impairs RNA-dependent polymerases
      • IL-6 pathway inhibitors
        • tocilizumab
        • siltuximab
        • sarilumab
    • Medical
      • supportive care and quarantine
        • indications
          • for mild cases patients are quarantined to their homes and symptomatically managed
      • hospitalization with potential oxygen supplementation or mechanical ventilation
        • indications
          • for severe disease, characterized by hypoxia (O2 saturation ≤ 94% on room air), an oxygen requirement, or ventilatory support
            • hospitalized patients with severe disease but not yet on oxygen supplementation
              • remdesivir only
            • hospitalized patients with severe disease who are receiving supplemental oxygen (including high-flow oxygen and non-invasive ventilation)
              • low-dose dexamethasone AND remdesivir
            • hospitalized patients with severe disease who require mechanical ventilation
              • low-dose dexamethasone only
  • Prevention
    • Hygiene and isolation should be in accordance with state and local health department recommendations and regulations
    • Hand hygiene
      • should be washed with water and soap or virucidal hand disinfectant
      • avoid face touching
    • Respiratory hygiene
      • maintain 6 feet of distance from others
      • masks (N95 respirators) and face shields or goggles for health care personnel or persons taking care of infected individuals in a health care facility or home
    • Face coverings
      • the CDC and WHO recommend wearing masks when in public spaces and when in the presence of individuals outside of one's household
    • Social and physical distancing
      • Avoidance of crowds and non-essential travel
    • Screening for infection in high-risk settings (e.g. nursing facilities, college campuses, hospital employees)
      • testing-based screening is advantageous compared to symptom-based screening in that it allows identification of asymptomatic infections
    • Vaccines
      • primary antigenic target: surface spike protein
      • multiple vaccine candidates have shown efficacy without major adverse effects in early-phase human clinical trials
      • two mRNA vaccines have over 95% vaccine efficacy in preventing symptomatic COVID-19
        • BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) COVID-19 mRNA vaccine
          • two intramuscular injections administered 3 weeks apart
        • mRNA-1273 (Moderna) COVID-19 mRNA vaccine
          • two intramuscular injections administered 4 weeks apart
  • Complications
    • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
      • has been associated with
        • older age (≥ 65 years of age)
        • diabetes mellitus
        • hypertension
    • Pneumonia
    • Septic shock
    • Cardiac arrhythmia
    • Cardiac injury
  • Sources
    • Note, this page is not meant to diagnose or treat patients but more as an evolving source of information
    • For more information, please see the following sources
      • Center for Disease Control
      • National Institutes of Health
      • World Health Organization
Flashcards (0)
1 of 0
Private Note