John Libbey Eurotext

Gériatrie et Psychologie Neuropsychiatrie du Vieillissement


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


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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
* Correspondence

The COVID-19 pandemic affects older adults particularly severely. Our objective was to identify from the international literature the symptoms most commonly experienced by older adults infected with SARS-CoV-2. This systematic literature review was conducted using MEDLINE between 1 December 2019 and 13 April 2020. The methodological quality analysis used a method dedicated to case series and case reports. Of the 260 articles initially identified, only two studies were ultimately included in the qualitative analysis. The mean age was relatively low, between 71 and 74 years on average. COVID-19 symptoms were as follows: fever, dry cough, dyspnoea, asthenia, anorexia, chest tightness, diarrhoea and, to a lesser extent, myalgia, pharyngitis, nausea, dizziness, headache, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Lymphopenia was noted from complete blood counts. 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 very elderly frail people, who are normally considered to constitute the geriatric population. The national survey conducted by the Société Française de Gériatrie et Gérontologie will help bridge this semiological gap.