Baseline characteristics and outcomes of patients with COVID-19 admitted to intensive care units in Vancouver, Canada: a case series

CMAJ. 2020 Jun 29;192(26):E694-E701. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.200794. Epub 2020 May 27.


Background: Pandemic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is associated with high intensive care unit (ICU) mortality. We aimed to describe the clinical characteristics and outcomes of critically ill patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a Canadian setting.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective case series of critically ill patients with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection consecutively admitted to 1 of 6 ICUs in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, between Feb. 21 and Apr. 14, 2020. Demographic, management and outcome data were collected by review of patient charts and electronic medical records.

Results: Between Feb. 21 and Apr. 14, 2020, 117 patients were admitted to the ICU with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. The median age was 69 (interquartile range [IQR] 60-75) years, and 38 (32.5%) were female. At least 1 comorbidity was present in 86 (73.5%) patients. Invasive mechanical ventilation was required in 74 (63.2%) patients. The duration of mechanical ventilation was 13.5 (IQR 8-22) days overall and 11 (IQR 6-16) days for patients successfully discharged from the ICU. Tocilizumab was administered to 4 patients and hydroxychloroquine to 1 patient. As of May 5, 2020, a total of 18 (15.4%) patients had died, 12 (10.3%) remained in the ICU, 16 (13.7%) were discharged from the ICU but remained in hospital, and 71 (60.7%) were discharged home.

Interpretation: In our setting, mortality in critically ill patients with COVID-19 admitted to the ICU was lower than in previously published studies. These data suggest that the prognosis associated with critical illness due to COVID-19 may not be as poor as previously reported.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Betacoronavirus
  • British Columbia / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / mortality
  • Coronavirus Infections / therapy*
  • Critical Care*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / mortality
  • Pneumonia, Viral / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2