Comparison of baseline characteristics, treatment and clinical outcomes of critically ill COVID-19 patients admitted in the first and second waves in Australia

SPRINT SARI Australia Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To report longitudinal differences in baseline characteristics, treatment, and outcomes in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) between the first and second waves of COVID-19 in Australia. 

Design, setting and participants: SPRINT-SARI Australia is a multicentre, inception cohort study enrolling adult patients with COVID-19 admitted to participating ICUs. The first wave of COVID-19 was from 27 February to 30 June 2020, and the second wave was from 1 July to 22 October 2020. 

Results: A total of 461 patients were recruited in 53 ICUs across Australia; a higher number were admitted to the ICU during the second wave compared with the first: 255 (55.3%) versus 206 (44.7%). Patients admitted to the ICU in the second wave were younger (58.0 v 64.0 years; P = 0.001) and less commonly male (68.9% v 60.0%; P = 0.045), although Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II scores were similar (14 v 14; P = 0.998). High flow oxygen use (75.2% v 43.4%; P < 0.001) and non-invasive ventilation (16.5% v 7.1%; P = 0.002) were more common in the second wave, as was steroid use (95.0% v 30.3%; P < 0.001). ICU length of stay was shorter (6.0 v 8.4 days; P = 0.003). In-hospital mortality was similar (12.2% v 14.6%; P = 0.452), but observed mortality decreased over time and patients were more likely to be discharged alive earlier in their ICU admission (hazard ratio, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.13–1.79; P = 0.002). 

Conclusion: During the second wave of COVID-19 in Australia, ICU length of stay and observed mortality decreased over time. Multiple factors were associated with this, including changes in clinical management, the adoption of new evidence-based treatments, and changes in patient demographic characteristics but not illness severity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-319
Number of pages12
JournalCritical Care and Resuscitation
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sep 2021

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