March 26, 2020

Characteristics, outcomes of critically ill COVID-19 patients in Washington state

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

This study represents the first description of critically ill patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the US. These patients had a high rate of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and a high risk of death, similar to patients in China.

A total of 21 patients with a mean age of 70 years were included. The majority were linked to exposures at a skilled nursing facility. Comorbidities were identified in 18 patients (86%), with chronic kidney disease and congestive heart failure the most common.


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Mean onset of symptoms before admission to the hospital was 3.5 days, and 17 patients (81%) were admitted to the ICU less than 24 hours after admission. Mechanical ventilation was initiated in 15 patients, all of whom had ARDS.

As of March 17, mortality was 67%, 24% remained critically ill, and 9.5% had been discharged from the ICU.

The findings emphasize the need to limit exposure of nursing home residents to SAFS-CoV-2, the authors say.

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