Anaesth Crit Care Pain Med. 2022 Apr 26:101092. doi: 10.1016/j.accpm.2022.101092. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: Switzerland experienced two waves of COVID-19 in 2020, but with a different ICU admission and treatment management strategy. The timing of ICU admission and intubation remains a matter of debate in severe patients. The aim of our study was to describe the characteristics of ICU patients between two subsequent waves of COVID-19 who underwent a different management strategy and to assess whether the timing of intubation was associated with differences in mortality.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We conducted a prospective observational study of all adult patients with acute respiratory failure due to COVID-19 who required intubation between the 9th of March 2020 and the 9th of January 2021 in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Geneva University Hospitals, Switzerland.
RESULTS: Two hundred twenty-four patients were intubated during the study period; 124 during the first wave, and 99 during the second wave. Patients admitted to the ICU during the second wave had a higher SAPS II severity score (52.5 vs. 60; p = 0.01). The time from hospital admission to intubation was significantly longer during the second compared to the first wave (4 days [IQR, 1-7] vs. 2 days [IQR, 0-4]; p < 0.01). All-cause ICU mortality was significantly higher during the second wave (42% vs. 23%; p < 0.01). In a multivariate analysis, the delay between hospital admission and intubation was significantly associated with ICU mortality (OR 3.25 [95% CI, 1.38-7.67]; p < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: In this observational study, delayed intubation was associated with increased mortality in patients with severe COVID-19. Further randomised controlled trials are needed.