Temporal trends of severity and outcomes of critically ill patients with COVID-19 after the emergence of variants of concern : A comparison of two waves

Copyright: © 2024 Freitas et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited..

BACKGROUND: The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants led to subsequent waves of COVID-19 worldwide. In many countries, the second wave of COVID-19 was marked by record deaths, raising the concern that variants associated with that wave might be more deadly. Our aim was to compare outcomes of critically-ill patients of the first two waves of COVID-19.

METHODS: This retrospective cohort included critically-ill patients admitted between March-June 2020 and April-July 2021 in the largest academic hospital in Brazil, which has free-access universal health care system. We compared admission characteristics and hospital outcomes. The main outcome was 60-day survival and we built multivariable Cox model based on a conceptual causal diagram in the format of directed acyclic graph (DAG).

RESULTS: We included 1583 patients (1315 in the first and 268 in the second wave). Patients in the second wave were younger, had lower severity scores, used prone and non-invasive ventilatory support more often, and fewer patients required mechanical ventilation (70% vs 80%, p<0.001), vasopressors (60 vs 74%, p<0.001), and dialysis (22% vs 37%, p<0.001). Survival was higher in the second wave (HR 0.61, 95%CI 0.50-0.76). In the multivariable model, admission during the second wave, adjusted for age, SAPS3 and vaccination, was not associated with survival (aHR 0.85, 95%CI 0.65-1.12).

CONCLUSIONS: In this cohort study, patients with COVID-19 admitted to the ICU in the second wave were younger and had better prognostic scores. Adjusted survival was similar in the two waves, contrasting with record number of hospitalizations, daily deaths and health system collapse seen across the country in the second wave. Our findings suggest that the combination of the burden of severe cases and factors such as resource allocation and health disparities may have had an impact in the excess mortality found in many countries in the second wave.

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Electronic Article

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Contained In:

To Main Record - volume:19

Contained In:

PloS one - 19(2024), 3 vom: 07., Seite e0299607




Freitas, Daniela Helena Machado [Author]
Costa, Eduardo Leite Vieira [Author]
Zimmermann, Natalia Alcantara [Author]
Gois, Larissa Santos Oliveira [Author]
Anjos, Mirella Vittig Alves [Author]
Lima, Felipe Gallego [Author]
Andrade, Pâmela Santos [Author]
Joelsons, Daniel [Author]
Ho, Yeh-Li [Author]
Sales, Flávia Cristina Silva [Author]
Sabino, Ester Cerdeira [Author]
Carvalho, Carlos Roberto Ribeiro [Author]
Ferreira, Juliana Carvalho [Author]




Journal Article


Date Completed 11.03.2024

Date Revised 11.03.2024

published: Electronic-eCollection

Citation Status MEDLINE




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