John Libbey Eurotext

Gériatrie et Psychologie Neuropsychiatrie du Vieillissement


Symptoms of COVID-19 among older adults: systematic review of biomedical literature Volume 18, issue 2, Juin 2020


  • Figure 1


1 Département de gériatrie et Centre Mémoire Ressources Recherche, Centre de recherche sur l’autonomie et la longévité, Centre hospitalier universitaire, Angers, France
2 UPRES EA 4638, Université d’Angers, Angers, France
3 Université Côte d’Azur, Centre hospitalier universitaire de Nice, Service de médecine gériatrique et thérapeutique, Nice, France
4 Université Côte d’Azur, CNRS UMR 7284/Inserm U108, Institute for Research on Cancer and Aging Nice (IRCAN), Faculté de médecine, Nice, France
5 Pôle hospitalo-universitaire de gérontologie clinique, CHU de Nantes, France
6 Robarts Research Institute, Department of Medical Biophysics, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, the University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada
* Correspondance

The COVID-19 pandemic is particularly severe in older adults. Our objective was to identify, from international literature, the most common symptoms met in older adults infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.This systematic review of the literature was conducted using MEDLINE from December 1, 2019 to April 13, 2020. The analysis of methodological quality used a method dedicated to case series and case reports.Out of 260 articles initially identified, only two studies were finally included in the qualitative analysis. The mean age was relatively low, between 71 and 74 years on average. The symptoms of COVID-19 were as follows: fever, dry cough, dyspnea, asthenia, anorexia, chest tightness, diarrhea, and to a lesser extent myalgia, pharyngitis, nausea, dizziness, headache, abdominal pain and finally vomiting. Lymphopenia was found in the complete blood count.In conclusion, this systematic review of the international literature reveals a lack of data about the semiology of COVID-19 in older adults, especially in the frail oldest-old ones who commonly define the geriatric population. The national survey conducted by the French Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology will help fill this semiological gap.