High mortality among patients with severe COVID-19 and Do Not Intubate orders


INTRODUCTION: Moderate to severe respiratory distress among patients with COVID-19 is associated with a high mortality. This study evaluated ventilator support and mortality by Do Intubate (DI) or Do Not Intubate (DNI) orders.

METHODS: This was a retrospective study of patients with COVID-19 and a supplemental oxygen requirement of ≥ 15 l/min. The patients were divided into two groups corresponding to the first and second wave of COVID-19 and were subsequently further divided according to DI and DNI orders and analysed regarding need of ventilator support and mortality.

RESULTS: The study included 178 patients. The mortality was 24% for patients with DI orders (n = 115) and 81% for patients with DNI orders (n = 63) increasing to 98% (n = 46) for patients with DNI orders and very high flow oxygen requirements (≥ 30 l/min.). From the first to the second wave of COVID-19, the use of constant continuous positive airway pressure (cCPAP) increased from 71% to 91% (p less-than 0.001), whereas the use of mechanical ventilation decreased from 54% to 28% (odds ratio = 0.38 (95% confidence interval: 0.17-0.85)).

CONCLUSION: The mortality was high for patients with DNI orders and respiratory distress with very high levels in supplemental oxygen in both the first and second wave of COVID-19 despite an increase in use of cCPAP and treatment with dexamethasone and remdesivir during the second wave. Hence, careful evaluation on transition to palliative care must be considered for these patients.

FUNDING: none.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: The study was approved by the Danish Patient Safety Authority (record no. 31-1521-309) and the Regional Data Protection Centre (record no. P-2020-492).

TidsskriftDanish Medical Journal
Udgave nummer12
StatusUdgivet - 23 nov. 2022


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