Outcomes of an intermediate respiratory care unit in the COVID-19 pandemic

Link to article at PubMed

PLoS One. 2020 Dec 16;15(12):e0243968. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0243968. eCollection 2020.


BACKGROUND: 15% of COVID-19 patients develop severe pneumonia. Non-invasive mechanical ventilation and high-flow nasal cannula can reduce the rate of endotracheal intubation in adult respiratory distress syndrome, although failure rate is high.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the rate of endotracheal intubation, the effectiveness of treatment, complications and mortality in patients with severe respiratory failure due to COVID-19.

METHODS: Prospective cohort study in a first-level hospital in Madrid. Patients with a positive polymerase chain reaction for SARS-CoV-2 and admitted to the Intermediate Respiratory Care Unit with tachypnea, use of accessory musculature or SpO2 <92% despite FiO2> 0.5 were included. Intubation rate, medical complications, and 28-day mortality were recorded. Statistical analysis through association studies, logistic and Cox regression models and survival analysis was performed.

RESULTS: Seventy patients were included. 37.1% required endotracheal intubation, 58.6% suffered medical complications and 24.3% died. Prone positioning was independently associated with lower need for endotracheal intubation (OR 0.05; 95% CI 0.005 to 0.54, p = 0.001). The adjusted HR for death at 28 days in the group of patients requiring endotracheal intubation was 5.4 (95% CI 1.51 to 19.5; p = 0.009).

CONCLUSIONS: The rate of endotracheal intubation in patients with severe respiratory failure from COVID-19 was 37.1%. Complications and mortality were lower in patients in whom endotracheal intubation could be avoided. Prone positioning could reduce the need for endotracheal intubation.

PMID:33326484 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0243968

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