Am J Emerg Med. 2021 Jan 29;43:103-108. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2021.01.068. Online ahead of print.
IMPORTANCE: Initial guidelines recommended prompt endotracheal intubation rather than non-invasive ventilation (NIV) for COVID-19 patients requiring ventilator support. There is insufficient data comparing the impact of intubation versus NIV on patient-centered outcomes of these patients.
OBJECTIVE: To compare all-cause 30-day mortality for hospitalized COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure who underwent intubation first, intubation after NIV, or NIV only.
DESIGN: Retrospective study of patients admitted in March and April of 2020.
SETTING: A teaching hospital in Brooklyn, New York City.
PARTICIPANTS: Adult COVID-19 confirmed patients who required ventilator support (non-invasive ventilation and/or endotracheal intubation) at discretion of treating physician, were included.
EXPOSURES: Patients were categorized into three exposure groups: intubation-first, intubation after NIV, or NIV-only.
PRIMARY OUTCOME: 30-day all-cause mortality, a predetermined outcome measured by multivariable logistic regression. Data are presented with medians and interquartile ranges, or percentages with 95% confidence intervals, for continuous and categorical variables, respectively. Covariates for the model were age, sex, qSOFA score ≥ 2, presenting oxygen saturation, vasopressor use, and greater than three comorbidities. A secondary multivariable model compared mortality of all patients that received NIV (intubation after NIV and NIV-only) with the intubation-first group.
RESULTS: A total of 222 were enrolled. Overall mortality was 77.5% (95%CI, 72-83%). Mortality for intubation-first group was 82% (95%CI, 73-89%; 75/91), for Intubation after NIV was 84% (95%CI, 70-92%; 37/44), and for NIV-only was 69% (95%CI, 59-78%; 60/87). In multivariable analysis, NIV-only was associated with decreased all-cause mortality (odds ratio [OR]: 0.30, 95%CI, 0.13-0.69). No difference in mortality was observed between intubation-first and intubation after NIV. Secondary analysis found all patients who received NIV to have lower mortality than patients who were intubated only (OR: 0.44, 95%CI, 0.21-0.95).
CONCLUSIONS & RELEVANCE: Utilization of NIV as the initial intervention in COVID-19 patients requiring ventilatory support is associated with significant survival benefit. For patients intubated after NIV, the mortality rate is not worse than those who undergo intubation as their initial intervention.