Thoracic Research and Practice
Original Article

Clinical Outcome of PCR-Negative COVID-19 Patients: A Retrospective Study


Department of Chest Diseases, Ege University, İzmir, Turkey


Department of Chest Diseases, Dokuz Eylül University, İzmir, Turkey


Department of Medical Microbiology, Dokuz Eylül University, İzmir, Turkey


Department of Medical Microbiology, Ege University, İzmir, Turkey


Department of Internal Medicine, Dokuz Eylül University, İzmir, Turkey

Thorac Res Pract 2021; 22: 247-250
DOI: 10.5152/TurkThoracJ.2021.20284
Read: 932 Downloads: 426 Published: 01 May 2021

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the clinical features and outcomes of patients who were admitted with a diagnosis of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) but who were not confirmed with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) positivity.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: This is a retrospective analysis of all patients admitted to two tertiary care centers between March 15 and May 15, 2020, with a diagnosis of COVID-19. From a common database prepared for COVID-19, we retrieved the relevant data and compared the clinical findings and outcomes of PCR-positive patients with those of PCR-negative cases who had been diagnosed on the basis of typical clinical and radiographic findings.

RESULTS: A total of 349 patients were included in the analysis, of which 126 (36.1%) were PCR-negative. PCR-negative patients were younger (54.6 ± 20.8 vs. 60.8 ± 18.9 years, P = .009) but were similar to PCR-positive patients in terms of demographics, comorbidities, and presenting symptoms. They had higher lymphocyte counts (1519 ± 868 vs. 1331 ± 737/mm3, P = .02) and less frequently presented with bilateral radiographic findings (68.3% vs. 79.4%, P = .046) than PCR-positive patients. Besides, they had less severe disease and better clinical outcomes regarding admission to the intensive care unit (9.6% vs. 20.6%, P = .023), oxygen therapy (21.4% vs. 43.5%, P < .001), ventilatory support (3.2% vs. 11.2%, P = .03) and length of hospital stay (5.0 ± 5.0 vs. 9.7 ± 5.9 days, P < .001).

CONCLUSION: This study confirms that about one-third of the COVID-19 patients are PCR-negative and diagnosed based on clinical and radiographic findings. These patients have a more favorable clinical course, shorter hospital stays, and are less frequently admitted to the intensive care unit.

Cite this article as: Sayiner A, Sezai Tasbakan M, Ergan B, et al. Clinical outcome of PCR-negative COVID-19 patients: A retrospective study. Turk Thorac J. 2021; 22(3): 247-250.

EISSN 2979-9139