Background: The mortality of COVID-19 patients who are admitted to a hospital because of the disease remains high. The implementation of evidence-based treatments can improve the quality of care.
Methods: The new clinical practice guideline is based on publications retrieved by a systematic search in the Medline databases via PubMed and in the Cochrane COVID-19 trial registry, followed by a structured consensus process leading to the adoption of graded recommendations.
Results: Therapeutic anticoagulation can be considered in patients who do not require intensive care and have an elevated risk of thromboembolism (for example, those with D-dimer levels ≥ 2 mg/L). For patients in intensive care, therapeutic anticoagulation has no benefit. For patients with hypoxemic respiratory insufficiency, prone positioning and an early therapy attempt with CPAP/noninvasive ventilation (CPAP, continuous positive airway pressure) or high-flow oxygen therapy is recommended. Patients with IgG-seronegativity and, at most, low-flow oxygen should be treated with SARS-CoV-2-specific monoclonal antibodies (at present, casirivimab and imdevimab). Patients needing no more than low-flow oxygen should additionally be treated with janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors. All patients who need oxygen (low-flow, high-flow, noninvasive ventilation/CPAP, invasive ventilation) should be given systemic corticosteroids. Tocilizumab should be given to patients with a high oxygen requirement and progressively severe COVID-19 disease, but not in combination with JAK inhibitors.
Conclusion: Noninvasive ventilation, high-flow oxygen therapy, prone positioning, and invasive ventilation are important elements of the treatment of hypoxemic patients with COVID-19. A reduction of mortality has been demonstrated for the administration of monoclonal antibodies, JAK inhibitors, corticosteroids, tocilizumab, and therapeutic anticoagulation to specific groups of patients.