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JYMS : Journal of Yeungnam Medical Science

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Jin Young Kim 1 Article
Treatment decision for cancer patients with fever during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic
In Hee Lee, Sung Ae Koh, Soo Jung Lee, Sun Ah Lee, Yoon Young Cho, Ji Yeon Lee, Jin Young Kim
Yeungnam Univ J Med. 2021;38(4):344-349.   Published online August 23, 2021
DOI: https://doi.org/10.12701/yujm.2021.01144
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AbstractAbstract PDF
Background
Cancer patients have been disproportionally affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, with high rates of severe outcomes and mortality. Fever is the most common symptom in COVID-19 patients. During the COVID-19 pandemic, physicians may have difficulty in determining the cause of fever (COVID-19, another infection, or cancer fever) in cancer patients. Furthermore, there are no specific guidelines for managing cancer patients with fever during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, this study evaluated the clinical characteristics and outcomes of cancer patients with fever during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods
This study retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 328 cancer patients with COVID-19 symptoms (fever) admitted to five hospitals in Daegu, Korea from January to October 2020. We obtained data on demographics, clinical manifestations, laboratory test results, chest computed tomography images, cancer history, cancer treatment, and outcomes of all enrolled patients from electronic medical records.
Results
The most common COVID-19-like symptoms were fever (n=256, 78%). Among 256 patients with fever, only three (1.2%) were diagnosed with COVID-19. Most patients (253, 98.8%) with fever were not diagnosed with COVID-19. The most common solid malignancies were lung cancer (65, 19.8%) and hepatobiliary cancer (61, 18.6%). Twenty patients with fever experienced a delay in receiving cancer treatment. Eighteen patients discontinued active cancer treatment because of fever. Major events during the treatment delay period included death (2.7%), cancer progression (1.5%), and major organ dysfunction (2.7%).
Conclusion
Considering that only 0.9% of patients tested for COVID-19 were positive, screening for COVID-19 in cancer patients with fever should be based on the physician’s clinical decision, and patients might not be routinely tested.

JYMS : Journal of Yeungnam Medical Science