Purpose: Adequate patient allocation is pivotal for optimal resource management in strained healthcare systems, and requires detailed knowledge of clinical and virological disease trajectories. The purpose of this work was to identify risk factors associated with need for invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV), to analyse viral kinetics in patients with and without IMV and to provide a comprehensive description of clinical course.
Methods: A cohort of 168 hospitalised adult COVID-19 patients enrolled in a prospective observational study at a large European tertiary care centre was analysed.
Results: Forty-four per cent (71/161) of patients required invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV). Shorter duration of symptoms before admission (aOR 1.22 per day less, 95% CI 1.10-1.37, p < 0.01) and history of hypertension (aOR 5.55, 95% CI 2.00-16.82, p < 0.01) were associated with need for IMV. Patients on IMV had higher maximal concentrations, slower decline rates, and longer shedding of SARS-CoV-2 than non-IMV patients (33 days, IQR 26-46.75, vs 18 days, IQR 16-46.75, respectively, p < 0.01). Median duration of hospitalisation was 9 days (IQR 6-15.5) for non-IMV and 49.5 days (IQR 36.8-82.5) for IMV patients.
Conclusions: Our results indicate a short duration of symptoms before admission as a risk factor for severe disease that merits further investigation and different viral load kinetics in severely affected patients. Median duration of hospitalisation of IMV patients was longer than described for acute respiratory distress syndrome unrelated to COVID-19.
Keywords: Artificial respiration; COVID-19 nucleic acid testing; Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); Mechanical ventilation; Prospective study; Respiratory distress syndrome; Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2); Symptom assessment; Viral concentration.
© 2021. The Author(s).