Am J Emerg Med. 2021 Sep 28;51:1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2021.09.040. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Many patients with Coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19) present with radiological evidence of pneumonia. Because it is difficult to determine co-existence of bacterial pneumonia, many of these patients are initially treated with antibiotics. We compared the rates of bacterial infections and mortality in Covid-19 patients with pulmonary infiltrates versus patients diagnosed with 'pneumonia' the year previously.
METHODS: We conducted a medical record review of patients admitted with Covid-19 and a pulmonary infiltrate and compared them with patients diagnosed with pneumonia admitted in the prior year before the pandemic. Data abstracted included baseline demographics, comorbidities, signs and symptoms, laboratory and microbiological results, and imaging findings. Outcomes were bacterial infections and mortality. Patients presenting with and without Covid-19 were compared using univariable and multivariable analyses.
RESULTS: There were 1398 and 1001 patients admitted through the emergency department (ED) with and without Covid-19 respectively. Compared with non-Covid-19 patients, those with Covid-19 were younger (61±18 vs. 65±25 years, P < 0.001) and had a lower Charlson Comorbidity Index (0.7 vs. 1.2, P < 0.001). Bacterial infections were present in fewer Covid-19 than non-Covid-19 patients (8% vs. 13%, P < 0.001), and most infections in Covid-19 were nosocomial as opposed to community acquired in non-Covid-19 patients. CXR was more often read as abnormal and with bilateral infiltrates in patients with Covid-19 (82% vs. 70%, P < 0.001 and 81% vs. 48%, P < 0.001, respectively). Mortality was higher in patients with Covid-19 vs. those without (15% vs. 9%, P < 0.001). Multivariable predictors (OR [95%CI]) of mortality were age (1.04 [1.03-1.05]/year), tachypnea (1.55 [1.12-2.14]), hypoxemia (2.98 [2.04-4.34]), and bacterial infection (2.80 [1.95-4.02]). Compared with non-Covid-19 patients with pneumonia, patients with Covid-19 were more likely to die (2.68 [1.97-3.63]).
CONCLUSIONS: The rate of bacterial infections is lower in Covid-19 patients with pulmonary infiltrates compared with patients diagnosed with pneumonia prior to the pandemic and most are nosocomial. Mortality was higher in Covid-19 than non-Covid-19 patients even after adjusting for age, tachypnea, hypoxemia, and bacterial infection.