Intensive Care Patients from the First COVID-19 Wave: One-Year Survival after Tocilizumab Treatment

J Pers Med. 2021 Nov 21;11(11):1234. doi: 10.3390/jpm11111234.


Introduction: An infection by COVID-19 triggers a dangerous cytokine storm, so tocilizumab has been introduced in Italy as an agent blocking the cytokine storm. This paper aims to describe the one-year survival of ICU patients treated with tocilizumab.

Methods: This observational study enrolled all patients confirmed to be infected by COVID-19 who were admitted to the ICU in our center. We offered tocilizumab to all non-septic patients if they did not present any contraindications.

Results: We enrolled 68 ICU patients in our center on 72 occasions during the enrollment period; we excluded four patients due to study criteria. The one-year mortality hazard ratio of treated patients was 0.64, with a confidence interval of 0.31 to 1.19, with p = 0.169. Among the survivors, 32 of 35 patients answered the phone interview (14 patients in the treated group and 18 in the untreated group); overall, the effect of COVID-19 on quality of life was 58.14%. These effects were lower in the tocilizumab group, with p = 0.016 *.

Conclusions: Our observational data follow the most relevant largest trial. Patients treated with tocilizumab had lower rates of new-onset symptoms later COVID-19 ICU hospitalizations. As reported by recent medical literature, the presence of these symptoms suggests that a follow-up program for these types of patients could be useful.

Keywords: COVID-19; COVID-19 post-infection symptoms; cytokine storm medication.