Complications Based Questions

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Frequently Asked Inpatient Questions Microchapter


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Management of Dead Bodies from COVID-19

General Health Care Practitioner (HCP) Questions

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]: Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Aisha Adigun, B.Sc., M.D.[2]Nuha Al-Howthi, MD[3]Gurmandeep Singh Sandhu,M.B.B.S.[4]

Complications Based Questions

What population is most at risk for severe disease from COVID-19?

  • COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe illness. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.[1]
  • Based on what we know now, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:
    • People 65 years and older
    • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
    • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
    • People who have serious heart conditions
    • People who are immunocompromised
      • Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
    • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
    • People with diabetes
    • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
    • People with liver disease

What risk factors result in severe complications from COVID-19?

Am I at risk for serious complications from COVID-19 if I smoke cigarettes?

  • Smoking cigarettes can leave you more vulnerable to respiratory illnesses, such as COVID-19. For example, smoking is known to cause lung disease and people with underlying lung problems may have increased risk for serious complications from COVID-19, a disease that primarily attacks the lungs. Smoking cigarettes can also cause inflammation and cell damage throughout the body and can weaken your immune system, making it less able to fight off disease.

What systems other than the Respiratory system can be involved?

  • Although research for COVID-19 is still ongoing, scientists have found extra-pulmonary manifestations in several other systems. It is thought that the virus instigates a "cytokine storm" where the body responds massively, leading to widespread cytokine release, cellular, tissue, and organ damage. Extra-pulmonary manifestations include but are not limited to;[3]
    • Heart Inflammation
    • Neurological manifestations
    • Renal disease
    • Liver and digestive tract compromise
    • Venous thromboembolism.


  1. "People Who Are at Higher Risk for Severe Illness | Coronavirus | COVID-19 | CDC".
  2. "Ten Clinical Tips on COVID-19 for Healthcare Providers Involved in Patient Care | CDC".
  3. Lai CC, Ko WC, Lee PI, Jean SS, Hsueh PR (May 2020). "Extra-respiratory manifestations of COVID-19". Int. J. Antimicrob. Agents: 106024. doi:10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.106024. PMC 7243791 Check |pmc= value (help). PMID 32450197 Check |pmid= value (help).