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Intern Emerg Med ; 16(4): 1005-1015, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1202836


During the COVID-19 2020 outbreak, a large body of data has been provided on general management and outcomes of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Yet, relatively little is known on characteristics and outcome of patients managed in Internal Medicine Units (IMU). To address this gap, the Italian Society of Internal Medicine has conducted a nationwide cohort multicentre study on death outcome in adult COVID-19 patients admitted and managed in IMU. This study assessed 3044 COVID-19 patients at 41 referral hospitals across Italy from February 3rd to May 8th 2020. Demographics, comorbidities, organ dysfunction, treatment, and outcomes including death were assessed. During the study period, 697 patients (22.9%) were transferred to intensive care units, and 351 died in IMU (death rate 14.9%). At admission, factors independently associated with in-hospital mortality were age (OR 2.46, p = 0.000), productive cough (OR 2.04, p = 0.000), pre-existing chronic heart failure (OR 1.58, p = 0.017) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (OR 1.17, p = 0.048), the number of comorbidities (OR 1.34, p = 0.000) and polypharmacy (OR 1.20, p = 0.000). Of note, up to 40% of elderly patients did not report fever at admission. Decreasing PaO2/FiO2 ratio at admission was strongly inversely associated with survival. The use of conventional oxygen supplementation increased with the number of pre-existing comorbidities, but it did not associate with better survival in patients with PaO2/FiO2 ratio < 100. The latter, significantly benefited by the early use of non-invasive mechanical ventilation. Our study identified PaO2/FiO2 ratio at admission and comorbidity as the main alert signs to inform clinical decisions and resource allocation in non-critically ill COVID-19 patients admitted to IMU.

COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/therapy , Hospitalization , Internal Medicine , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/complications , Cohort Studies , Critical Care , Hospital Mortality , Humans , Italy , Middle Aged , Respiration, Artificial , Survival Rate
Int J Infect Dis ; 104: 696-700, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1062391


OBJECTIVES: The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has heavily impacted Italy. The government's restriction measures have attenuated the burden on hospitals. The association of high viral replication with disease severity suggests the potential for lower viral load in milder clinical presentations. METHODS: The reverse-transcription-polymerase-chain-reaction (RT-PCR) profile of 944 consecutive, non-replicate, positive retropharyngeal swabs was collected from 3 March to 8 June 2020 to investigate the temporal profile of SARS-CoV-2 viral load in the region of Capitanata, Apulia. Cycle threshold (Ct) values of 3 targets (N [nucleocapsid protein], E [envelope protein] and RdRP [RNA-dependent RNA-polymerase]) were analysed. RESULTS: The median Ct values of the 3 targets increased considerably over the study period, showing a progressive and constant weekly change. The negative detection rate of E and RdRP increased over time. These data suggest that SARS-CoV-2 viral load progressively decreased along the outbreak course. During the first epidemic peak (March and April) the viral load among patients >80-years was significantly higher than for younger subjects. However, in May this age-dependent difference disappeared, underlying viral load reduction in the elderly. CONCLUSIONS: An attenuation of viral transmission or pathogenicity during the epidemic course is suggested, likely due to restriction measures, although viral factors might also be considered.

COVID-19/virology , Nasopharynx/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Load , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Young Adult
Therap Adv Gastroenterol ; 13: 1756284820959183, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-873872


Current mortality rate in patients with COVID-19 disease is about 2%, whereas 5% of patients require admission to the intensive care unit. It is assumed that interleukin (IL)-6 may be involved in the pathogenesis of severe COVID-19 infections; therefore, in the absence of a specific antiviral therapy, some authors have suggested that tocilizumab - a drug used to block the signal transduction pathway of IL-6 - could have beneficial effects in the management of severe COVID-19 disease. However, mild-to-moderate elevation in transaminases and drug-induced liver injury have been observed in patients treated with tocilizumab. We present seven cases of patients with elevated liver enzymes [up to five times the upper limit of normal (ULN)] at baseline who received tocilizumab for life-threatening COVID-19 disease. All patients had no history of liver or pulmonary disease and were admitted for acute hypoxemic respiratory failure, dyspnea and fever due to COVID-19 bilateral pneumonia. IL-6 was available in six patients, and was significantly increased particularly in those with severe impairment of lung function. All patients received tocilizumab (8 mg/kg/day) for two consecutive days because of lack of improvement after hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and lopinavir/ritonavir treatment. After tocilizumab administration, clinical condition rapidly improved and liver function test normalized within 3 weeks of treatment. Tocilizumab may be effective for the treatment of severe COVID-19 disease, even in patients with elevated liver function tests. Further studies are needed to evaluate the impact of tocilizumab use on liver function tests in patients with pre-existing chronic liver disease.