An online first study published in Critical Care Medicine indicates the actual mortality rate of adults with critical illness from COVID-19 is less than what was previously reported.
Compared to earlier reports of a 50 percent mortality rate, the study finds that the mortality rate of critically ill patients who required mechanical ventilation was only 35.7 percent. About 60 percent of patients observed in the study survived to hospital discharge.
The study observed patients 18 years and older from six COVID-19 designated intensive care units in three hospitals in Atlanta, Ga. from March to April 2020.
The authors note that several considerations may have influenced the outcomes of the study including that all critically ill patients with COVID-19 in the hospital network were admitted to pre-existing ICUs that had adequate staffing ratios and equipment.
An accompanying online first editorial examines the role of mainstream and social media in creating the narrative that intubation and mechanical ventilation were "the cause of suboptimal outcomes" for critically ill COVID-19 patients, without accounting for hospital staffing and equipment shortages.
Auld, S. C., et al. (2020) ICU and Ventilator Mortality Among Critically Ill Adults With Coronavirus Disease 2019. Critical Care Medicine. doi.org/10.1097/CCM.0000000000004457.