To investigate patients’ characteristics, management, and outcomes in the critically ill population admitted to the ICU for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus disease 2019 pneumonia causing an acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Retrospective case-control study.
A 34-bed ICU of a tertiary hospital.
The first 44 coronavirus disease 2019 acute respiratory distress syndrome patients were compared with a historical control group of 39 consecutive acute respiratory distress syndrome patients admitted to the ICU just before the coronavirus disease 2019 crisis.
Measurements and Main Results:
Obesity was the most frequent comorbidity exhibited by coronavirus disease 2019 patients (n = 32, 73% vs n = 11, 28% in controls; p < 0.001). Despite the same severity of illness and level of hypoxemia at admission, coronavirus disease 2019 patients failed more high flow oxygen via nasal cannula challenges (n = 16, 100% vs n = 5, 45% in controls; p = 0.002), were more often intubated (n = 44, 100% vs n = 22, 56% in controls; p < 0.001) and paralyzed (n = 34, 77% vs n = 3, 14% in controls; p < 0.001), required higher level of positive end-expiratory pressure (15 vs 8 cm H2O in controls; p < 0.001), more prone positioning (n = 33, 75% vs n = 6, 27% in controls; p < 0.001), more dialysis (n = 16, 36% vs n = 3, 8% in controls; p = 0.003), more hemodynamic support by vasopressors (n = 36, 82% vs n = 22, 56% in controls; p = 0.001), and had more often a prolonged weaning from mechanical ventilation (n = 28, 64% vs n = 10, 26% in controls; p < 0.01) resulting in a more frequent resort to tracheostomy (n = 18, 40.9% vs n = 2, 9% in controls; p = 0.01). However, an intensive management requiring more staff per patient for positioning coronavirus disease 2019 subjects (6 [5–7] vs 5 [4–5] in controls; p < 0.001) yielded the same ICU survival rate in the two groups (n = 34, 77% vs n = 29, 74% in controls; p = 0.23).
In its most severe form, coronavirus disease 2019 pneumonia striked preferentially the vulnerable obese population, evolved toward a multiple organ failure, required prolonged mechanical ventilatory support, and resulted in a high workload for the caregivers.