Skill Checkup: An 81-Year-Old Woman With Dyspnea, Nearly Incessant Cough, and Body Aches

Enrico Brunetti, MD


November 07, 2022

The patient should be hospitalized for further treatment, as their disease has become severe. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), severe COVID-19 is generally defined by the following signs and symptoms: oxygen saturation < 90% on room air, signs of pneumonia, signs of severe respiratory distress, which, in adults, manifests in accessory muscle use, inability to complete full sentences, and/or respiratory rate > 30 breaths per minute.

COVID-19 hospitalization and mortality were significantly lower in patients ≥ 65 years of age who received nirmatrelvir (paxlovid) than in those who did not. However, in this case, the disease has progressed to a point at which monoclonal antibodies or antivirals are no longer viable treatment options. In general, treatment should be initiated as soon as possible to protect against adverse outcomes and complications.

The patient is admitted as an inpatient and put on low-flow nasal oxygen.


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