Severe infection due to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus: Experience of a tertiary hospital with COVID-19 patients during the 2020 pandemic

Med Intensiva (Engl Ed). 2020 Dec;44(9):525-533. doi: 10.1016/j.medin.2020.05.018. Epub 2020 Jun 19.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Objective: To describe the clinical and respiratory characteristics of a cohort of 43 patients with COVID-19 after an evolutive period of 28 days.

Design: A prospective, single-center observational study was carried out.

Setting: Intensive care.

Patients: Patients admitted due to COVID-19 and respiratory failure.

Interventions: None.

Variables: Automatic recording was made of demographic variables, severity parameters, laboratory data, assisted ventilation (HFO: high-flow oxygen therapy and IMV: invasive mechanical ventilation), oxygenation (PaO2, PaO2/FiO2) and complications. The patients were divided into three groups: survivors (G1), deceased (G2) and patients remaining under admission (G3). The chi-squared test or Fisher exact test (categorical variables) was used, along with the Mann-Whitney U-test or Wilcoxon test for analyzing the differences between medians. Statistical significance was considered for p<0.05.

Results: A total of 43 patients were included (G1=28 [65.1%]; G2=10 [23.3%] and G3=5 [11.6%]), with a mean age of 65 years (range: 52-72), 62% males, APACHE II 18 (15-24), SOFA 6 (4-7). Arterial hypertension (30.2%) and obesity (25.6%) were the most frequent comorbidities. High-flow oxygen therapy was used in 62.7% of the patients, with failure in 85%. In turn, 95% of the patients required IMV and 85% received ventilation in prone decubitus. In the general population, initial PaO2/FiO2 improved after 7 days (165 [125-210] vs.194 [153-285]; p=0.02), in the same way as in G1 (164 [125-197] vs. 207 [160-294]; p=0.07), but not in G2 (163 [95-197] vs. 135 [85-177]). No bacterial coinfection was observed. The incidence of IMV-associated pneumonia was high (13 episodes/1000 days of IMV).

Conclusions: Patients with COVID-19 require early IMV, a high frequency of ventilation in prone decubitus, and have a high incidence of failed HFO. The lack of improvement of PaO2/FiO2 at 7 days could be a prognostic marker. .

Keywords: COVID-19; Insuficiencia respiratoria; Mechanical ventilation; Respiratory failure; Ventilación mecánica.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacterial Infections / complications
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / mortality
  • COVID-19 / therapy
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Contraindications, Procedure
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multimorbidity
  • Noninvasive Ventilation / adverse effects
  • Pandemics*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods
  • SARS-CoV-2*
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Tertiary Care Centers


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents