The Characteristics and Laboratory Findings of SARS-CoV-2 Infected Patients during the First Three COVID-19 Waves in Portugal-A Retrospective Single-Center Study

Cristiana P Von Rekowski, Tiago A H Fonseca, Rúben Araújo, Carlos Brás-Geraldes, Cecília R C Calado, Luís Bento, Iola Pinto

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Background and Objectives: Given the wide spectrum of clinical and laboratory manifestations of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), it is imperative to identify potential contributing factors to patients' outcomes. However, a limited number of studies have assessed how the different waves affected the progression of the disease, more so in Portugal. Therefore, our main purpose was to study the clinical and laboratory patterns of COVID-19 in an unvaccinated population admitted to the intensive care unit, identifying characteristics associated with death, in each of the first three waves of the pandemic. Materials and Methods: This study included 337 COVID-19 patients admitted to the intensive care unit of a single-center hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, between March 2020 and March 2021. Comparisons were made between three COVID-19 waves, in the second (n = 325) and seventh (n = 216) days after admission, and between discharged and deceased patients. Results: Deceased patients were considerably older (p = 0.021) and needed greater ventilatory assistance (p = 0.023), especially in the first wave. Differences between discharged and deceased patients' biomarkers were minimal in the first wave, on both analyzed days. In the second wave significant differences emerged in troponins, lactate dehydrogenase, procalcitonin, C-reactive protein, and white blood cell subpopulations, as well as platelet-to-lymphocyte and neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratios (all p < 0.05). Furthermore, in the third wave, platelets and D-dimers were also significantly different between patients' groups (all p < 0.05). From the second to the seventh days, troponins and lactate dehydrogenase showed significant decreases, mainly for discharged patients, while platelet counts increased (all p < 0.01). Lymphocytes significantly increased in discharged patients (all p < 0.05), while white blood cells rose in the second (all p < 0.001) and third (all p < 0.05) waves among deceased patients. Conclusions: This study yields insights into COVID-19 patients' characteristics and mortality-associated biomarkers during Portugal's first three COVID-19 waves, highlighting the importance of considering wave variations in future research due to potential significant outcome differences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number59
JournalMedicina (Kaunas, Lithuania)
Issue number1
Early online date28 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • coronavirus disease 2019
  • intensive care unit
  • mortality
  • blood biomarkers
  • coronavirus disease 2019 waves


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