Risk Factors Associated With Mortality Among Patients With COVID-19 in Intensive Care Units in Lombardy, Italy

JAMA Intern Med. 2020 Jul 15;e203539. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.3539. Online ahead of print.


Importance: Many patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are critically ill and require care in the intensive care unit (ICU).

Objective: To evaluate the independent risk factors associated with mortality of patients with COVID-19 requiring treatment in ICUs in the Lombardy region of Italy.

Design, setting, and participants: This retrospective, observational cohort study included 3988 consecutive critically ill patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 referred for ICU admission to the coordinating center (Fondazione IRCCS [Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico] Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy) of the COVID-19 Lombardy ICU Network from February 20 to April 22, 2020. Infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 was confirmed by real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction assay of nasopharyngeal swabs. Follow-up was completed on May 30, 2020.

Exposures: Baseline characteristics, comorbidities, long-term medications, and ventilatory support at ICU admission.

Main outcomes and measures: Time to death in days from ICU admission to hospital discharge. The independent risk factors associated with mortality were evaluated with a multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression.

Results: Of the 3988 patients included in this cohort study, the median age was 63 (interquartile range [IQR] 56-69) years; 3188 (79.9%; 95% CI, 78.7%-81.1%) were men, and 1998 of 3300 (60.5%; 95% CI, 58.9%-62.2%) had at least 1 comorbidity. At ICU admission, 2929 patients (87.3%; 95% CI, 86.1%-88.4%) required invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV). The median follow-up was 44 (95% CI, 40-47; IQR, 11-69; range, 0-100) days; median time from symptoms onset to ICU admission was 10 (95% CI, 9-10; IQR, 6-14) days; median length of ICU stay was 12 (95% CI, 12-13; IQR, 6-21) days; and median length of IMV was 10 (95% CI, 10-11; IQR, 6-17) days. Cumulative observation time was 164 305 patient-days. Hospital and ICU mortality rates were 12 (95% CI, 11-12) and 27 (95% CI, 26-29) per 1000 patients-days, respectively. In the subgroup of the first 1715 patients, as of May 30, 2020, 865 (50.4%) had been discharged from the ICU, 836 (48.7%) had died in the ICU, and 14 (0.8%) were still in the ICU; overall, 915 patients (53.4%) died in the hospital. Independent risk factors associated with mortality included older age (hazard ratio [HR], 1.75; 95% CI, 1.60-1.92), male sex (HR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.31-1.88), high fraction of inspired oxygen (Fio2) (HR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.10-1.19), high positive end-expiratory pressure (HR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.01-1.06) or low Pao2:Fio2 ratio (HR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.74-0.87) on ICU admission, and history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (HR, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.28-2.19), hypercholesterolemia (HR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.02-1.52), and type 2 diabetes (HR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.01-1.39). No medication was independently associated with mortality (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors HR, 1.17; 95% CI, 0.97-1.42; angiotensin receptor blockers HR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.85-1.29).

Conclusions and relevance: In this retrospective cohort study of critically ill patients admitted to ICUs in Lombardy, Italy, with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, most patients required IMV. The mortality rate and absolute mortality were high.