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1.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev ; 8: CD015061, 2021 08 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1813447

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Individuals dying of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may experience distressing symptoms such as breathlessness or delirium. Palliative symptom management can alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life of patients. Various treatment options such as opioids or breathing techniques have been discussed for use in COVID-19 patients. However, guidance on symptom management of COVID-19 patients in palliative care has often been derived from clinical experiences and guidelines for the treatment of patients with other illnesses. An understanding of the effectiveness of pharmacological and non-pharmacological palliative interventions to manage specific symptoms of COVID-19 patients is required. OBJECTIVES: To assess the efficacy and safety of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for palliative symptom control in individuals with COVID-19. SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register (including Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE (PubMed), Embase, ClinicalTrials.gov, World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (WHO ICTRP), medRxiv); Web of Science Core Collection (Science Citation Index Expanded, Emerging Sources); CINAHL; WHO COVID-19 Global literature on coronavirus disease; and COAP Living Evidence on COVID-19 to identify completed and ongoing studies without language restrictions until 23 March 2021. We screened the reference lists of relevant review articles and current treatment guidelines for further literature. SELECTION CRITERIA: We followed standard Cochrane methodology as outlined in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. We included studies evaluating palliative symptom management for individuals with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 receiving interventions for palliative symptom control, with no restrictions regarding comorbidities, age, gender, or ethnicity. Interventions comprised pharmacological as well as non-pharmacological treatment (e.g. acupressure, physical therapy, relaxation, or breathing techniques). We searched for the following types of studies: randomized controlled trials (RCT), quasi-RCTs, controlled clinical trials, controlled before-after studies, interrupted time series (with comparison group), prospective cohort studies, retrospective cohort studies, (nested) case-control studies, and cross-sectional studies. We searched for studies comparing pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for palliative symptom control with standard care. We excluded studies evaluating palliative interventions for symptoms caused by other terminal illnesses. If studies enrolled populations with or exposed to multiple diseases, we would only include these if the authors provided subgroup data for individuals with COVID-19. We excluded studies investigating interventions for symptom control in a curative setting, for example patients receiving life-prolonging therapies such as invasive ventilation.  DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We used a modified version of the Newcastle Ottawa Scale for non-randomized studies of interventions (NRSIs) to assess bias in the included studies. We included the following outcomes: symptom relief (primary outcome); quality of life; symptom burden; satisfaction of patients, caregivers, and relatives; serious adverse events; and grade 3 to 4 adverse events. We rated the certainty of evidence using the GRADE approach.  As meta-analysis was not possible, we used tabulation to synthesize the studies and histograms to display the outcomes.  MAIN RESULTS: Overall, we identified four uncontrolled retrospective cohort studies investigating pharmacological interventions for palliative symptom control in hospitalized patients and patients in nursing homes. None of the studies included a comparator. We rated the risk of bias high across all studies. We rated the certainty of the evidence as very low for the primary outcome symptom relief, downgrading mainly for high risk of bias due to confounding and unblinded outcome assessors. Pharmacological interventions for palliative symptom control We identified four uncontrolled retrospective cohort studies (five references) investigating pharmacological interventions for palliative symptom control. Two references used the same register to form their cohorts, and study investigators confirmed a partial overlap of participants. We therefore do not know the exact number of participants, but individual reports included 61 to 2105 participants. Participants received multimodal pharmacological interventions: opioids, neuroleptics, anticholinergics, and benzodiazepines for relieving dyspnea (breathlessness), delirium, anxiety, pain, audible upper airway secretions, respiratory secretions, nausea, cough, and unspecified symptoms.  Primary outcome: symptom relief All identified studies reported this outcome. For all symptoms (dyspnea, delirium, anxiety, pain, audible upper airway secretions, respiratory secretions, nausea, cough, and unspecified symptoms), a majority of interventions were rated as completely or partially effective by outcome assessors (treating clinicians or nursing staff). Interventions used in the studies were opioids, neuroleptics, anticholinergics, and benzodiazepines.  We are very uncertain about the effect of pharmacological interventions on symptom relief (very low-certainty evidence). The initial rating of the certainty of evidence was low since we only identified uncontrolled NRSIs. Our main reason for downgrading the certainty of evidence was high risk of bias due to confounding and unblinded outcome assessors. We therefore did not find evidence to confidently support or refute whether pharmacological interventions may be effective for palliative symptom relief in COVID-19 patients. Secondary outcomes We planned to include the following outcomes: quality of life; symptom burden; satisfaction of patients, caregivers, and relatives; serious adverse events; and grade 3 to 4 adverse events. We did not find any data for these outcomes, or any other information on the efficacy and safety of used interventions. Non-pharmacological interventions for palliative symptom control None of the identified studies used non-pharmacological interventions for palliative symptom control. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: We found very low certainty evidence for the efficacy of pharmacological interventions for palliative symptom relief in COVID-19 patients. We found no evidence on the safety of pharmacological interventions or efficacy and safety of non-pharmacological interventions for palliative symptom control in COVID-19 patients. The evidence presented here has no specific implications for palliative symptom control in COVID-19 patients because we cannot draw any conclusions about the effectiveness or safety based on the identified evidence. More evidence is needed to guide clinicians, nursing staff, and caregivers when treating symptoms of COVID-19 patients at the end of life. Specifically, future studies ought to investigate palliative symptom control in prospectively registered studies, using an active-controlled setting, assess patient-reported outcomes, and clearly define interventions. The publication of the results of ongoing studies will necessitate an update of this review. The conclusions of an updated review could differ from those of the present review and may allow for a better judgement regarding pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for palliative symptom control in COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , Palliative Care , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Bias , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , Systematic Reviews as Topic
2.
J Clin Med ; 10(15)2021 Jul 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1335124

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has recently dominated scientific literature. Incomplete understanding and a lack of data concerning the pathophysiology, epidemiology, and optimal treatment of the disease has resulted in conflicting recommendations. Adherence to existing guidelines and actual treatment strategies have thus far not been studied systematically. We hypothesized that capturing the variance in care would lead to the discovery of aspects that need further research and-in case of proven benefits of interventions not being performed-better communication to care providers. METHODS: This article is based on a quantitative and qualitative cross-sectional mixed-methods online survey among intensive-care physicians in Germany during the COVID-19 pandemic by the CEOsys (COVID-19 Evidence Ecosystem) network, endorsed by the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI) conducted from December 3 to 31 December 2020. RESULTS: We identified several areas of care with an especially high variance in treatment among hospitals in Germany. Crucially, 51.5% of the participating ICUs (n = 205) reported using intubation as a last resort for respiratory failure in COVID-19 patients, while 21.8% used intubation early after admission. Furthermore, 11.5% considered extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in awake patients. Finally, 72.3% of respondents used the ARDS-network-table to titrate positive end-expiratory-pressure (PEEP) levels, with 36.9% choosing the low-PEEP table and 41.8% the high-PEEP table. CONCLUSIONS: We found that significant differences exist between reported treatment strategies and that adherence to published guidelines is variable. We describe necessary steps for future research based on our results highlighting significant clinical variability in care.

3.
GMS Hyg Infect Control ; 16: Doc21, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1290316

ABSTRACT

Aim: Recommendations on hygiene measures, personal protective equipment (PPE), isolation, and antibiotic prophylaxis were developed during the coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19) pandemic and have been revised several times to date. Some of the underlying literature indicates a large evidence gap. We suspect that this leads to a large variance of measures on German intensive care units (ICU). Methods: A mixed methods online survey among intensive-care specialists in Germany caring for COVID-19 patients was conducted in December 2020. Results: We received responses from 205 German ICUs that had treated COVID-19 patients to date. There was wide variation in the use of PPE. Polymerase Chain reaction (PCR) testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was used by 94.8% of the units, with an average waiting time of 12 hours for the result. 18.7% of the respondents prescribed antibiotic prophylaxis in COVID-19 patients. Conclusion: We found a high variance in essential care strategies for COVID-19 patients on German intensive care units. This included differences in infection prophylaxis, personal protective equipment, and the indication of prophylactic antibiotic therapy. Based on our results, we recommend further studies to quantify and improve guideline adherence.

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