Factors Associated With Death in Critically Ill Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019 in the US

JAMA Intern Med. 2020 Nov 1;180(11):1436-1447. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.3596.


Importance: The US is currently an epicenter of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, yet few national data are available on patient characteristics, treatment, and outcomes of critical illness from COVID-19.

Objectives: To assess factors associated with death and to examine interhospital variation in treatment and outcomes for patients with COVID-19.

Design, setting, and participants: This multicenter cohort study assessed 2215 adults with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who were admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) at 65 hospitals across the US from March 4 to April 4, 2020.

Exposures: Patient-level data, including demographics, comorbidities, and organ dysfunction, and hospital characteristics, including number of ICU beds.

Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome was 28-day in-hospital mortality. Multilevel logistic regression was used to evaluate factors associated with death and to examine interhospital variation in treatment and outcomes.

Results: A total of 2215 patients (mean [SD] age, 60.5 [14.5] years; 1436 [64.8%] male; 1738 [78.5%] with at least 1 chronic comorbidity) were included in the study. At 28 days after ICU admission, 784 patients (35.4%) had died, 824 (37.2%) were discharged, and 607 (27.4%) remained hospitalized. At the end of study follow-up (median, 16 days; interquartile range, 8-28 days), 875 patients (39.5%) had died, 1203 (54.3%) were discharged, and 137 (6.2%) remained hospitalized. Factors independently associated with death included older age (≥80 vs <40 years of age: odds ratio [OR], 11.15; 95% CI, 6.19-20.06), male sex (OR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.19-1.90), higher body mass index (≥40 vs <25: OR, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.01-2.25), coronary artery disease (OR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.07-2.02), active cancer (OR, 2.15; 95% CI, 1.35-3.43), and the presence of hypoxemia (Pao2:Fio2<100 vs ≥300 mm Hg: OR, 2.94; 95% CI, 2.11-4.08), liver dysfunction (liver Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score of 2-4 vs 0: OR, 2.61; 95% CI, 1.30-5.25), and kidney dysfunction (renal Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score of 4 vs 0: OR, 2.43; 95% CI, 1.46-4.05) at ICU admission. Patients admitted to hospitals with fewer ICU beds had a higher risk of death (<50 vs ≥100 ICU beds: OR, 3.28; 95% CI, 2.16-4.99). Hospitals varied considerably in the risk-adjusted proportion of patients who died (range, 6.6%-80.8%) and in the percentage of patients who received hydroxychloroquine, tocilizumab, and other treatments and supportive therapies.

Conclusions and relevance: This study identified demographic, clinical, and hospital-level risk factors that may be associated with death in critically ill patients with COVID-19 and can facilitate the identification of medications and supportive therapies to improve outcomes.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19 / mortality*
  • Critical Illness / mortality*
  • Critical Illness / therapy
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Risk Factors
  • United States