As coronavirus disease 2019 continues to sweep the globe, questions about the disease—and the subsequent virus that causes the disease—continue to build. While many questions have been answered about COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2, there are several mysteries surrounding the disease that remain unsolved.
In an effort to better understand the disease and take us steps closer toward a cure or vaccine for COVID-19, researchers, scientists, and medical professionals have been researching, studying, and running evaluations to help answer some of these questions.
Of those unanswered questions includes this one: what are the common characteristics, factors, and outcomes that are directly and indirectly associated with deaths among the critically ill patients who contract coronavirus disease within the United States?
Why specifically the U.S., you might ask? Because at the time of publication, the United States was the current epicenter of the coronavirus disease 2019, but even still, there’s not very much national data available on patient characteristics, treatment, and outcomes of critical illness from COVID-19.
In this particular study, researchers take a look at a cohort of 2,215 adults with COVID-19 who were admitted to IC units at nearly 70 sites. Of those adults, 784 died within 28 days (roughly 35 percent) with wide variation among the hospitals. The common factors were cited as acute organ dysfunction, morbid obesity, male sex, older age, and coronary artery disease.
The report looks at data from a multicenter cohort study that assessed over 2,200 adults with lab-confirmed COVID-19. All of these patients were admitted to intensive care units at 65 hospitals spanning the U.S. from March 4- April 4, 2020.
As a result, at 28 days after ICU admission, 784 patients died, 824 patients were discharged, and 607 patients remained in the hospital. That’s about 35.4 percent, 37.2 percent, and 24.6 percent respectively.
At the end of the study follow-up, 875 patients had died, 1203 were discharged, and 137 remained hospitalized.
The factors that were identified as immediately associated with death included older age, male sex, higher body mass index, coronary artery disease, active cancer, the presence of hypoxemia, liver dysfunction, and kidney dysfunction.
Ultimately, the study identified demographic, clinical, and hospital-level risk factors that could be associated with death in critically ill patients who had COVID-19. This can help to facilitate the identification of medications and supportive therapies that might improve outcomes.