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Original research
Identifying common baseline clinical features of COVID-19: a scoping review
  1. Daniela Ferreira-Santos1,2,
  2. Priscila Maranhão1,2,
  3. Matilde Monteiro-Soares1,2
  4. On behalf of COVIDcids
  1. 1CINTESIS - Center for Health Technology and Services Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
  2. 2MEDCIDS - Departamento de Ciências da Informação e da Decisão em Saúde, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Dr Daniela Ferreira-Santos; danielasantos{at}


Objectives Our research question was: what are the most frequent baseline clinical characteristics in adult patients with COVID-19? Our major aim was to identify common baseline clinical features that could help recognise adult patients at high risk of having COVID-19.

Design We conducted a scoping review of all the evidence available at LitCovid, until 23 March 2020.

Setting Studies conducted in any setting and any country were included.

Participants Studies had to report the prevalence of sociodemographic characteristics, symptoms and comorbidities specifically in adults with a diagnosis of infection by SARS-CoV-2.

Results In total, 1572 publications were published on LitCovid. We have included 56 articles in our analysis, with 89% conducted in China and 75% containing inpatients. Three studies were conducted in North America and one in Europe. Participants’ age ranged from 28 to 70 years, with balanced gender distribution. The proportion of asymptomatic cases were from 2% to 79%. The most common reported symptoms were fever (4%–99%), cough (4%–92%), dyspnoea/shortness of breath (1%–90%), fatigue (4%–89%), myalgia (3%–65%) and pharyngalgia (2%–61%), while regarding comorbidities, we found cardiovascular disease (1%–40%), hypertension (0%–40%) and cerebrovascular disease (1%–40%). Such heterogeneity impaired the conduction of meta-analysis.

Conclusions The infection by COVID-19 seems to affect people in a very diverse manner and with different characteristics. With the available data, it is not possible to clearly identify those at higher risk of being infected with this condition. Furthermore, the evidence from countries other than China is, at the moment, too scarce.

  • infectious diseases
  • epidemiology
  • statistics & research methods
  • COVID-19

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  • Contributors DF-S and MM-S designed the work. DF-S and PM extracted data from the articles. All authors screened the article, analysed and interpreted data, produced and revised all important intellectual content and gave their final approval of the version to be published and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Funding The work from DF-S was supported by Fundacão para a Ciência e Tecnologia (grant number PD/BD/13553/2018). The work from PM was supported by ODISSEIA – Oncology Information System project (POCI-05–5762-FSE-039021), financed by the North Portugal Regional Operational Programme (NORTE 2020), under the PORTUGAL 2020 Partnership Agreement, and through the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund, respectively.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study. Data sharing not applicable.

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