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J Clin Med ; 10(23)2021 Nov 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1566682


(1) Background: COVID-19 is a novel cause of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Indeed, with the increase of ARDS cases due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has also been an increase in the incidence of cases with pneumothorax (PNX) and pneumomediastinum (PNM). However, the incidence and the predictors of PNX/PMN in these patients are currently unclear and even conflicting. (2) Methods: The present observational study analyzed the incidence of barotrauma (PNX/PNM) in COVID-19 patients with moderate-severe ARDS hospitalized in a year of the pandemic, also focusing on the three waves occurring during the year, and treated with positive-pressure ventilation (PPV). We collected demographic and clinical data. (3) Results: During this period, 40 patients developed PNX/PNM. The overall incidence of barotrauma in all COVID-19 patients hospitalized in a year was 1.6%, and in those with moderate-severe ARDS in PPV was 7.2% and 3.8 events per 1000 positive-pressure ventilator days. The incidence of barotrauma in moderate-severe ARDS COVID-19 patients during the three waves was 7.8%, 7.4%, and 8.7%, respectively. Treatment with noninvasive respiratory support alone was associated with an incidence of barotrauma of 9.1% and 2.6 events per 1000 noninvasive ventilator days, of which 95% were admitted to the ICU after the event, due to a worsening of respiratory parameters. The incidence of barotrauma of ICU COVID-19 patients in invasive ventilation over a year was 5.8% and 2.7 events per 1000 invasive ventilator days. There was no significant difference in demographics and clinical features between the barotrauma and non-barotrauma group. The mortality was higher in the barotrauma group (17 patients died, 47.2%) than in the non-barotrauma group (170 patients died, 37%), although this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.429). (4) Conclusions: The incidence of PNX/PNM in moderate-severe ARDS COVID-19 patients did not differ significantly between the three waves over a year, and does not appear to be very different from that in ARDS patients in the pre-COVID era. The barotrauma does not appear to significantly increase mortality in COVID-19 patients with moderate-severe ARDS if protective ventilation strategies are applied. Attention should be paid to the risk of barotrauma in COVID-19 patients in noninvasive ventilation because the event increases the probability of admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) and intubation.

J Clin Med ; 10(15)2021 Jul 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1335120


BACKGROUND: The benefits and timing of percutaneous dilatational tracheostomy (PDT) in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) COVID-19 patients are still controversial. PDT is considered a high-risk procedure for the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to healthcare workers (HCWs). The present study analyzed the optimal timing of PDT, the clinical outcomes of patients undergoing PDT, and the safety of HCWs performing PDT. METHODS: Of the 133 COVID-19 patients who underwent PDT in our ICU from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, 13 patients were excluded, and 120 patients were enrolled. A trained medical team was dedicated to the PDT procedure. Demographic, clinical history, and outcome data were collected. Patients who underwent PDT were stratified into two groups: an early group (PDT ≤ 12 days after orotracheal intubation (OTI) and a late group (>12 days after OTI). An HCW surveillance program was also performed. RESULTS: The early group included 61 patients and the late group included 59 patients. The early group patients had a shorter ICU length of stay and fewer days of mechanical ventilation than the late group (p < 0.001). On day 7 after tracheostomy, early group patients required fewer intravenous anesthetic drugs and experienced an improvement of the ventilation parameters PaO2/FiO2 ratio, PEEP, and FiO2 (p < 0.001). No difference in the case fatality ratio between the two groups was observed. No SARS-CoV-2 infections were reported in the HCWs performing the PDTs. CONCLUSIONS: PDT was safe and effective for COVID-19 patients since it improved respiratory support parameters, reduced ICU length of stay and duration of mechanical ventilation, and optimized the weaning process. The procedure was safe for all HCWs involved in the dedicated medical team. The development of standardized early PDT protocols should be implemented, and PDT could be considered a first-line approach in ICU COVID-19 patients requiring prolonged mechanical ventilation.

J Clin Med ; 10(15)2021 Jul 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1325713


INTRODUCTION: The use of steroid therapy in patients within the context of SARS-CoV-2 infection is still a matter of debate. This study aimed to evaluate if potential steroid benefits could be predicted by the ratio of arterial oxygen partial pressure (PaO2 in mmHg) to fractional inspired oxygen (FiO2) (P/F) in COVID-19 patients at admission. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Medical records were retrospectively collected from all adult patients admitted because of COVID-19 from 29 January to 31 July 2020. The association of steroid therapy with 28-day all-cause mortality outcome was analysed in a multivariable logistic regression model adjusted for confounding factors. RESULTS: Overall, 511 patients were analysed, of which 39.1% underwent steroid therapy. Steroid treated patients were mostly male, older, and more frequently treated with antiviral drugs and aminoquinolines; the most common comorbidities were hypertension, followed by cardiovascular disease. Overall, 51 patients died within 28-days, and overall 28-days mortality was 19.5% in the cohort of patients exposed to steroids versus 3.9% mortality in unexposed patients (p < 0.001). Steroid therapy on patients with P/F ratio of 235 mmHg or higher at admission can be considered as detrimental, with an 8% increased probability of death. CONCLUSIONS: Steroid therapy is associated with increased 28-day mortality in COVID-19 in patients with mild or no ARDS.