What are some characteristics of patients admitted to the intensive care unit with COVID-19, and what were these patients’ health outcomes?

Bottom Line:

In this study, patients admitted to the intensive care unit with COVID-19 were generally elderly and male. At the end of the study, over half of the patients remained in the intensive care unit, while 16% had recovered enough to leave the unit, and 26% had passed away.

Reference:

Grasselli, G. et al. Baseline Characteristics and Outcomes of 1591 Patients Infected With SARS-CoV-2 Admitted to ICUs of the Lombardy Region, Italy. JAMA (2020). DOI: 10.1001/jama.2020.5394

Date Published:

6 April 2020

Synopsis:

Understanding the characteristics and health outcomes of patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with COVID-19 will allow the healthcare system to better prepare for treating future patients. This study examined over 1500 patients who were admitted to the ICUs of hospitals in Lombardy, Italy, a region that is heavily affected by COVID-19. The researchers found that patients tended to be elderly, with a median age of 63 years. The majority of patients were male (82%), and had at least one non-COVID-19 medical issue in addition to their COVID-19 disease (68%). An overwhelming majority of patients admitted to the ICU required respiratory support (99%), which assists breathing in ways such as providing a higher concentration of oxygen than is present in regular air. Most patients received invasive respiratory support such as endotracheal intubation – in which a tube is placed down the patient’s throat to help them breathe – but some patients were able to use less intensive breathing aids such as face masks. At the study’s conclusion, the majority of patients were still staying in the ICU (58%), 16% of patients had recovered enough to leave the unit, and tragically 26% of patients had died. This study provides detailed information about the characteristics and health outcomes of patients admitted to intensive care units due to COVID-19, which will be vital in helping health systems prepare for treating similar patients.

Summary by: Jacob Ferguson