Tocilizumab in Coronavirus Disease 2019-Related Critical Illness: A Propensity Matched Analysis

Link to article at PubMed

Crit Care Explor. 2021 Jan 13;3(1):e0327. doi: 10.1097/CCE.0000000000000327. eCollection 2021 Jan.


The primary objective was to evaluate ICU mortality at 28 days in patients with severe hypoxemic respiratory failure due to coronavirus disease 2019 infection who received tocilizumab. The secondary objectives were to evaluate ICU-, hospital-, mechanical ventilation-, and vasopressor-free days at day 28 and development of secondary infections.

DESIGN: Retrospective, observational, multicenter, cohort study between March 15, 2020, and May 31, 2020. Using propensity score matching based on ICU admission source, C-reactive protein, Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score, vasopressor use, age, race, weight, and mechanical ventilation, patients who received tocilizumab were matched to patients who did not receive tocilizumab.

SETTING: Ten hospitals within the Cleveland Clinic Enterprise.

PATIENTS: Adult patients admitted to a medical, surgical, neurosciences, or mixed ICU with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection.


MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Four-hundred forty-four patients were included: 342 patients (77%) did not receive tocilizumab and 102 patients (23%) received tocilizumab. Of those, 82 patients in each arm were matched. Before matching, patients who received tocilizumab had higher Sequential Organ Failure Assessment scores (6.1 ± 3.4 vs 4.7 ± 3.6), higher C-reactive protein (21.0 ± 10.2 vs 13.7 ± 9.6 mg/dL), higher frequency of intubation, vasopressor requirement, and paralytics. After matching, characteristics were more balanced and over 85% of patients required mechanical ventilation. ICU mortality was lower in tocilizumab group (23.2% vs 37.8%; risk difference, -15%; 95% CI, -29% to -1%), with more ICU-, hospital-, and vasoactive-free days at day 28 compared with those who did not receive tocilizumab. There was no difference in mechanical ventilation-free days at day 28 or development of secondary infections.

CONCLUSIONS: Tocilizumab use was associated with a significant decrease in ICU mortality in critically ill coronavirus disease 2019 patients with severe hypoxemic respiratory failure. Future randomized controlled trials limited to tocilizumab administration in critically ill coronavirus disease 2019 patients, with severe hypoxemic respiratory failure, are needed to support these findings.

PMID:33490955 | PMC:PMC7808529 | DOI:10.1097/CCE.0000000000000327

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