HealthDay News — Heart transplant patients admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms may be sicker than nontransplant patients, but they present with the same symptoms as the general population, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Cardiac Failure.

Scott W. Ketcham, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues assessed clinical characteristics and outcomes among 13 patients with orthotopic heart transplant and COVID-19 admitted to two hospitals between March 21 and April 22, 2020.

The researchers report that the mean age of patients was 61 years, 100 percent were black men, and symptoms began six days before admission. Fever (92 percent), shortness of breath (85 percent), and cough (77 percent) were the most common symptoms. Six of the 13 patients required intensive care unit admission, while two patients died during hospitalization.

“Despite immunosuppression, the clinical presentation and laboratory markers of disease severity showed similarities to what has been observed in the general population,” Ketcham said in a statement. “However, almost half were critically ill and there was a higher rate of mortality than described among non-heart transplant recipients admitted with COVID-19.”


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