Background: A major problem of the coronavirus pandemic is the increase of patients requiring intensive care unit (ICU) sup-port in an extremely limited period of time. As a result, most countries have prioritized coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) care in ICUs and take new arrangements to increase hospital capacity in emergency department and ICUs. This study aimed to evaluate the changes in the number, clinical and demographic characteristics of patients hospitalized in non-COVID ICUs during the COVID-19 pandemic period compared to the previous year (pre-pandemic period), and to reveal the effects of the pandemic.
Methods: Hospitalized patients in non-COVID ICUs of our hospital between 11 March 2019 and 11 March 2021 were included in the study. The patients were divided into two groups according to date of the start of the COVID period. Patient data were scanned and recorded retrospectively from hospital information system and ICU assessment forms. Information regarding demographics (age and gender), comorbidities, COVID 19 polymerase chain reaction result, place of ICU admission, the diagnoses of patients admitted to ICU, length of ICU stay, Glasgow coma scale and mortality rates, and the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score were collected.
Results: A total of 2292 patients were analyzed, including 1011 patients (413 women and 598 men) in the pre-pandemic period (Group 1) and 1281 patients (572 women and 709 men) in the pandemic period (Group 2). When the diagnoses of patients admitted to ICU were compared between the groups, there was a statistically significant difference between post-operation, return of spon-taneous circulation, intoxication, multitrauma, and other reasons. In the pandemic period, the patients had a statistically significant longer length of ICU stay.
Conclusion: Changes were observed in the clinical and demographic characteristics of patients hospitalized in non-COVID-19 ICUs. We observed that the length of ICU stay of the patients increased during the pandemic period. Due to this situation, we think that intensive care and other inpatient services should be managed more effectively during the pandemic.