Should COVID-19 Patients > 75 Years be Ventilated? An Outcome Study

QJM. 2021 Feb 12;hcab029. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcab029. Online ahead of print.


Background: Elderly patients with COVID-19 disease are at increased risk for adverse outcomes. Current data regarding disease characteristics and outcomes in this population is limited.

Aim: To delineate the adverse factors associated with outcomes of COVID- 19 patients ≥75 years of age.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Methods: Patients were classified into mild/moderate, severe/very severe, and critical disease (intubated) based on oxygen requirements. The primary outcome was in-hospital mortality.

Results: 355 patients aged ≥75 years hospitalized with COVID-19 between March 19th and April 25th, 2020 were included. Mean age was 84.3 years. One-third of the patients developed critical disease. Mean length of stay was 7.10 days. Vasopressors were required in 27%, with the highest frequency in the critical disease group (74.1%). Overall mortality was 57.2%, with a significant difference between severity groups (mild/moderate disease : 17.4%, severe/very severe disease : 71.3%, critical disease: 94.9%, p < 0.001). Increased age, dementia, and severe/very severe and critical disease groups were each significantly associated with increased odds for mortality while diarrhea was associated with decreased odds for mortality (OR : 0.12, 95% CI : 0.02-0.60, p < 0.05)]. None of the cardiovascular comorbidities were significantly associated with mortality.

Conclusion: Age and dementia are associated with increased odds for mortality in patients ≥75 years of age hospitalized with COVID-19. Those who require intubation have the greatest odds for mortality. Diarrhea as a presenting symptom was associated with lower odds for mortality.