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Ann Intern Med ; 175(2): 234-243, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1753917


BACKGROUND: In a randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial, bamlanivimab, a SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing monoclonal antibody, given in combination with remdesivir, did not improve outcomes among hospitalized patients with COVID-19 based on an early futility assessment. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the a priori hypothesis that bamlanivimab has greater benefit in patients without detectable levels of endogenous neutralizing antibody (nAb) at study entry than in those with antibodies, especially if viral levels are high. DESIGN: Randomized, placebo-controlled trial. ( NCT04501978). SETTING: Multicenter trial. PATIENTS: Hospitalized patients with COVID-19 without end-organ failure. INTERVENTION: Bamlanivimab (7000 mg) or placebo. MEASUREMENTS: Antibody, antigen, and viral RNA levels were centrally measured on stored specimens collected at baseline. Patients were followed for 90 days for sustained recovery (defined as discharge to home and remaining home for 14 consecutive days) and a composite safety outcome (death, serious adverse events, organ failure, or serious infections). RESULTS: Among 314 participants (163 receiving bamlanivimab and 151 placebo), the median time to sustained recovery was 19 days and did not differ between the bamlanivimab and placebo groups (subhazard ratio [sHR], 0.99 [95% CI, 0.79 to 1.22]; sHR > 1 favors bamlanivimab). At entry, 50% evidenced production of anti-spike nAbs; 50% had SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid plasma antigen levels of at least 1000 ng/L. Among those without and with nAbs at study entry, the sHRs were 1.24 (CI, 0.90 to 1.70) and 0.74 (CI, 0.54 to 1.00), respectively (nominal P for interaction = 0.018). The sHR (bamlanivimab vs. placebo) was also more than 1 for those with plasma antigen or nasal viral RNA levels above median level at entry and was greatest for those without antibodies and with elevated levels of antigen (sHR, 1.48 [CI, 0.99 to 2.23]) or viral RNA (sHR, 1.89 [CI, 1.23 to 2.91]). Hazard ratios for the composite safety outcome (<1 favors bamlanivimab) also differed by serostatus at entry: 0.67 (CI, 0.37 to 1.20) for those without and 1.79 (CI, 0.92 to 3.48) for those with nAbs. LIMITATION: Subgroup analysis of a trial prematurely stopped because of futility; small sample size; multiple subgroups analyzed. CONCLUSION: Efficacy and safety of bamlanivimab may differ depending on whether an endogenous nAb response has been mounted. The limited sample size of the study does not allow firm conclusions based on these findings, and further independent trials are required that assess other types of passive immune therapies in the same patient setting. PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE: U.S. government Operation Warp Speed and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Neutralizing/therapeutic use , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Adenosine Monophosphate/adverse effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/therapeutic use , Aged , Alanine/adverse effects , Alanine/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized/adverse effects , Antibodies, Neutralizing/adverse effects , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antigens, Viral/blood , Antiviral Agents/adverse effects , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/virology , Double-Blind Method , Drug Therapy, Combination , Female , Humans , Male , Medical Futility , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral/blood , SARS-CoV-2 , Treatment Failure
JAMA ; 327(3): 227-236, 2022 01 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1669289


Importance: Platelets represent a potential therapeutic target for improved clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19. Objective: To evaluate the benefits and risks of adding a P2Y12 inhibitor to anticoagulant therapy among non-critically ill patients hospitalized for COVID-19. Design, Setting, and Participants: An open-label, bayesian, adaptive randomized clinical trial including 562 non-critically ill patients hospitalized for COVID-19 was conducted between February 2021 and June 2021 at 60 hospitals in Brazil, Italy, Spain, and the US. The date of final 90-day follow-up was September 15, 2021. Interventions: Patients were randomized to a therapeutic dose of heparin plus a P2Y12 inhibitor (n = 293) or a therapeutic dose of heparin only (usual care) (n = 269) in a 1:1 ratio for 14 days or until hospital discharge, whichever was sooner. Ticagrelor was the preferred P2Y12 inhibitor. Main Outcomes and Measures: The composite primary outcome was organ support-free days evaluated on an ordinal scale that combined in-hospital death (assigned a value of -1) and, for those who survived to hospital discharge, the number of days free of respiratory or cardiovascular organ support up to day 21 of the index hospitalization (range, -1 to 21 days; higher scores indicate less organ support and better outcomes). The primary safety outcome was major bleeding by 28 days as defined by the International Society on Thrombosis and Hemostasis. Results: Enrollment of non-critically ill patients was discontinued when the prespecified criterion for futility was met. All 562 patients who were randomized (mean age, 52.7 [SD, 13.5] years; 41.5% women) completed the trial and 87% received a therapeutic dose of heparin by the end of study day 1. In the P2Y12 inhibitor group, ticagrelor was used in 63% of patients and clopidogrel in 37%. The median number of organ support-free days was 21 days (IQR, 20-21 days) among patients in the P2Y12 inhibitor group and was 21 days (IQR, 21-21 days) in the usual care group (adjusted odds ratio, 0.83 [95% credible interval, 0.55-1.25]; posterior probability of futility [defined as an odds ratio <1.2], 96%). Major bleeding occurred in 6 patients (2.0%) in the P2Y12 inhibitor group and in 2 patients (0.7%) in the usual care group (adjusted odds ratio, 3.31 [95% CI, 0.64-17.2]; P = .15). Conclusions and Relevance: Among non-critically ill patients hospitalized for COVID-19, the use of a P2Y12 inhibitor in addition to a therapeutic dose of heparin, compared with a therapeutic dose of heparin only, did not result in an increased odds of improvement in organ support-free days within 21 days during hospitalization. Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT04505774.

Anticoagulants/administration & dosage , COVID-19/drug therapy , Heparin/administration & dosage , Inpatients , Purinergic P2Y Receptor Antagonists/administration & dosage , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Anticoagulants/adverse effects , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/mortality , Clopidogrel/administration & dosage , Clopidogrel/adverse effects , Comorbidity , Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation/statistics & numerical data , Female , Hemorrhage/chemically induced , Heparin/adverse effects , Hospital Mortality , Humans , Male , Medical Futility , Middle Aged , Outcome Assessment, Health Care , Oxygen Inhalation Therapy/statistics & numerical data , Platelet Activation/drug effects , Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors/administration & dosage , Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors/adverse effects , Purinergic P2Y Receptor Antagonists/adverse effects , Receptors, Purinergic P2Y12 , Respiration, Artificial/statistics & numerical data , Thrombosis/epidemiology , Ticagrelor/administration & dosage , Ticagrelor/adverse effects , Time Factors , Treatment Outcome
J Law Med Ethics ; 49(4): 641-643, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1616892


In this article, we comment on Ciaffa's article 'The Ethics of Unilateral Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders for COVID-19 Patients.' We summarize his argument criticizing futility and utilitarianism as the key ethical justifications for unilateral do-not-resuscitate orders for patients with COVID-19.

COVID-19 , Resuscitation Orders , Dissent and Disputes , Humans , Medical Futility , SARS-CoV-2
Catheter Cardiovasc Interv ; 99(1): 9-10, 2022 01 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1611207
Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol ; 128(2): 153-160, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1597012


BACKGROUND: The mechanism of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine hypersensitivity reactions is unknown. COVID-19 vaccine excipient skin testing has been used in evaluation of these reactions, but its utility in predicting subsequent COVID-19 vaccine tolerance is also unknown. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the utility of COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine excipient skin testing in both patients with an allergic reaction to their first messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccine dose and patients with a history of polyethylene glycol allergy who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine dose. METHODS: In this multicenter, retrospective review, COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine excipient skin testing was performed in patients referred to 1 of 3 large tertiary academic institutions. Patient medical records were reviewed after skin testing to determine subsequent COVID-19 vaccine tolerance. RESULTS: A total of 129 patients underwent skin testing, in whom 12 patients (9.3%) had positive results. There were 101 patients who received a COVID-19 vaccine after the skin testing, which was tolerated in 90 patients (89.1%) with no allergic symptoms, including 5 of 6 patients with positive skin testing results who received a COVID-19 vaccine after the skin testing. The remaining 11 patients experienced minor allergic symptoms after COVID-19 vaccination, none of whom required treatment beyond antihistamines. CONCLUSION: The low positivity rate of COVID-19 vaccine excipient skin testing and high rate of subsequent COVID-19 vaccine tolerance suggest a low utility of this method in evaluation of COVID-19 vaccine hypersensitivity reactions. Focus should shift to the use of existing vaccine allergy practice parameters, with consideration of graded dosing when necessary. On the basis of these results, strict avoidance of subsequent COVID-19 vaccination should be discouraged.

COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , COVID-19 , Hypersensitivity , Skin Tests , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Hypersensitivity/etiology , Medical Futility , Retrospective Studies , Vaccine Excipients/adverse effects , Vaccines, Synthetic/adverse effects , /adverse effects
World Neurosurg ; 156: 120-124, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433898


Neurosurgeons commonly encounter futility of care decisions in their practice. Are these decisions being made with adequate consideration? What is the preparation of neurosurgical trainees for making these decisions? The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic with its extreme pressure on resources and, in particular, intensive care unit beds, has prompted many health care providers including neurosurgeons to consider more fully the potentially futile nature of some treatments and how we might better manage limited resources for the future. We review the concept of futility in neurosurgery and suggest potential solutions to the multiple challenges that arise.

COVID-19 , Medical Futility , Neurosurgery , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
J Sports Med Phys Fitness ; 61(8): 1137-1143, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1310334


Recent reports based on cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) showed a wide range of prevalence of inflammatory heart diseases in COVID-19 convalescent athletes ranging from 0.4 up to 15%. These observations had an important impact in the field of sport cardiology opening an intense debate around the best possible screening strategy before the return-to-play. The diagnostic yield of CMR for detecting acute inflammatory disease is undebatable. However, the opportunity to use it in the screening protocol after COVID-19 has been questioned. Current evidence does not seem to support the routine use of CMR and the prescription of CMR should be based upon clinical indication.

COVID-19 , Athletes , Humans , Magnetic Resonance Imaging , Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy , Medical Futility , Return to Sport , SARS-CoV-2
JCO Oncol Pract ; 17(3): e369-e376, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262524


PURPOSE: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has raised a variety of ethical dilemmas for health care providers. Limited data are available on how a patient's concomitant cancer diagnosis affected ethical concerns raised during the early stages of the pandemic. METHODS: We performed a retrospective review of all COVID-related ethics consultations registered in a prospectively collected ethics database at a tertiary cancer center between March 14, 2020, and April 28, 2020. Primary and secondary ethical issues, as well as important contextual factors, were identified. RESULTS: Twenty-six clinical ethics consultations were performed on 24 patients with cancer (58.3% male; median age, 65.5 years). The most common primary ethical issues were code status (n = 11), obligation to provide nonbeneficial treatment (n = 3), patient autonomy (n = 3), resource allocation (n = 3), and delivery of care wherein the risk to staff might outweigh the potential benefit to the patient (n = 3). An additional nine consultations raised concerns about staff safety in the context of likely nonbeneficial treatment as a secondary issue. Unique contextual issues identified included concerns about public safety for patients requesting discharge against medical advice (n = 3) and difficulties around decision making, especially with regard to code status because of an inability to reach surrogates (n = 3). CONCLUSION: During the early pandemic, the care of patients with cancer and COVID-19 spurred a number of ethics consultations, which were largely focused on code status. Most cases also raised concerns about staff safety in the context of limited benefit to patients, a highly unusual scenario at our institution that may have been triggered by critical supply shortages.

COVID-19 , Cancer Care Facilities , Ethics Consultation/trends , Neoplasms , Resuscitation Orders/ethics , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Carcinoma, Renal Cell , Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation/ethics , Child , Decision Making , Ethics Committees, Clinical , Female , Health Care Rationing/ethics , Hematologic Neoplasms , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Intubation, Intratracheal/ethics , Kidney Neoplasms , Lung Neoplasms , Male , Medical Futility , Mental Competency , Middle Aged , Multiple Myeloma , New York City , Occupational Health/ethics , Patients' Rooms , Personal Autonomy , Proxy , SARS-CoV-2 , Sarcoma , Young Adult
Camb Q Healthc Ethics ; 30(2): 215-221, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1203376


The COVID-19 Pandemic a stress test for clinical medicine and medical ethics, with a confluence over questions of the proportionality of resuscitation. Drawing upon his experience as a clinical ethicist during the surge in New York City during the Spring of 2020, the author considers how attitudes regarding resuscitation have evolved since the inception of do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders decades ago. Sharing a personal narrative about a DNR quandry he encountered as a medical intern, the author considers the balance of patient rights versus clinical discretion, warning about the risk of resurgent physician paternalism dressed up in the guise of a public health crisis.

COVID-19 , Paternalism , Patient Rights , Resuscitation Orders/ethics , Ethicists/history , Ethics, Medical/history , History, 20th Century , Humans , Medical Futility/ethics , New York , Resuscitation Orders/legislation & jurisprudence
JAMA Netw Open ; 4(4): e216468, 2021 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1196363


Importance: Data on the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine or lopinavir-ritonavir for the treatment of high-risk outpatients with COVID-19 in developing countries are needed. Objective: To determine whether hydroxychloroquine or lopinavir-ritonavir reduces hospitalization among high-risk patients with early symptomatic COVID-19 in an outpatient setting. Design, Setting, and Participants: This randomized clinical trial was conducted in Brazil. Recently symptomatic adults diagnosed with respiratory symptoms from SARS-CoV-2 infection were enrolled between June 2 and September 30, 2020. The planned sample size was 1476 patients, with interim analyses planned after 500 patients were enrolled. The trial was stopped after the interim analysis for futility with a sample size of 685 patients. Statistical analysis was performed in December 2020. Interventions: Patients were randomly assigned to hydroxychloroquine (800 mg loading dose, then 400 mg daily for 9 days), lopinavir-ritonavir (loading dose of 800 mg and 200 mg, respectively, every 12 hours followed by 400 mg and 100 mg, respectively, every 12 hours for the next 9 days), or placebo. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcomes were COVID-19-associated hospitalization and death assessed at 90 days after randomization. COVID-19-associated hospitalization was analyzed with a Cox proportional hazards model. The trial included the following secondary outcomes: all-cause hospitalization, viral clearance, symptom resolution, and adverse events. Results: Of 685 participants, 632 (92.3%) self-identified as mixed-race, 377 (55.0%) were women, and the median (range) age was 53 (18-94) years. A total of 214 participants were randomized to hydroxychloroquine; 244, lopinavir-ritonavir; and 227, placebo. At first interim analysis, the data safety monitoring board recommended stopping enrollment of both hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir-ritonavir groups because of futility. The proportion of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 was 3.7% (8 participants) in the hydroxychloroquine group, 5.7% (14 participants) in the lopinavir-ritonavir group, and 4.8% (11 participants) in the placebo group. We found no significant differences between interventions for COVID-19-associated hospitalization (hydroxychloroquine: hazard ratio [HR], 0.76 [95% CI, 0.30-1.88]; lopinavir-ritonavir: HR, 1.16 [95% CI, 0.53-2.56] as well as for the secondary outcome of viral clearance through day 14 (hydroxychloroquine: odds ratio [OR], 0.91 [95% CI, 0.82-1.02]; lopinavir-ritonavir: OR, 1.04 [95% CI, 0.94-1.16]). At the end of the trial, there were 3 fatalities recorded, 1 in the placebo group and 2 in the lopinavir-ritonavir intervention group. Conclusions and Relevance: In this randomized clinical trial, neither hydroxychloroquine nor lopinavir-ritonavir showed any significant benefit for decreasing COVID-19-associated hospitalization or other secondary clinical outcomes. This trial suggests that expedient clinical trials can be implemented in low-income settings even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT04403100.

COVID-19 , Early Medical Intervention , Hydroxychloroquine/administration & dosage , Lopinavir/administration & dosage , Ritonavir/administration & dosage , Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , Brazil/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Drug Monitoring/methods , Drug Monitoring/statistics & numerical data , Drug Therapy, Combination/methods , Early Medical Intervention/methods , Early Medical Intervention/statistics & numerical data , Female , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Male , Medical Futility , Middle Aged , Risk Adjustment/methods , Symptom Assessment/methods , Treatment Outcome
Crit Care Med ; 49(8): e797-e798, 2021 08 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1155808
BMC Med Ethics ; 22(1): 28, 2021 03 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1147083


BACKGROUND: The worsening COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa poses multiple challenges for clinical decision making in the context of already-scarce ICU resources. Data from national government and the last published national audit of ICU resources indicate gross shortages. While the Critical Care Society of Southern Africa (CCSSA) guidelines provide a comprehensive guideline for triage in the face of overwhelmed ICU resources, such decisions present massive ethical and moral dilemmas for triage teams. It is therefore important for the health system to provide clinicians and critical care facilities with as much support and resources as possible in the face of impending pandemic demand. Following a discussion of the ethical considerations and potential challenges in applying the CCSSA guidelines, the authors propose a framework for regional triage committees adapted to the South African context. DISCUSSION: Beyond the national CCSSA guidelines, the clinician has many additional ethical and clinical considerations. No single ethical approach to decision-making is sufficient, instead one which considers multiple contextual factors is necessary. Scores such as the Clinical Frailty Score and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment are of limited use in patients with COVID-19. Furthermore, the clinician is fully justified in withdrawing ICU care based on medical futility decisions and to reallocate this resource to a patient with a better prognosis. However, these decisions bear heavy emotional and moral burden compounded by the volume of clinical work and a fear of litigation. CONCLUSION: We propose the formation of Provincial multi-disciplinary Critical Care Triage Committees to alleviate the emotional, moral and legal burden on individual ICU teams and co-ordinate inter-facility collaboration using an adapted framework. The committee would provide an impartial, broader and ethically-sound viewpoint which has time to consider broader contextual factors such as adjusting rationing criteria according to different levels of pandemic demand and the latest clinical evidence. Their functioning will be strengthened by direct feedback to national level and accountability to a national monitoring committee. The potential applications of these committees are far-reaching and have the potential to enable a more effective COVID-19 health systems response in South Africa.

COVID-19 , Critical Care/ethics , Decision Making/ethics , Health Care Rationing/ethics , Intensive Care Units , Pandemics , Triage/methods , Cooperative Behavior , Emotions , Ethics, Medical , Health Resources , Humans , Medical Futility , Prognosis , SARS-CoV-2 , South Africa , Triage/ethics
Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med ; 29(1): 19, 2021 Jan 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1054826


BACKGROUND: Futile resuscitation for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) patients in the coronavirus disease (COVID)-19 era can lead to risk of disease transmission and unnecessary transport. Various existing basic or advanced life support (BLS or ALS, respectively) rules for the termination of resuscitation (TOR) have been derived and validated in North America and Asian countries. This study aimed to evaluate the external validation of these rules in predicting the survival outcomes of OHCA patients in the COVID-19 era. METHODS: This was a multicenter observational study using the WinCOVID-19 Daegu registry data collected during February 18-March 31, 2020. The subjects were patients who showed cardiac arrest of presumed cardiac etiology. The outcomes of each rule were compared to the actual patient survival outcomes. The sensitivity, specificity, false positive value (FPV), and positive predictive value (PPV) of each TOR rule were evaluated. RESULTS: In total, 170 of the 184 OHCA patients were eligible and evaluated. TOR was recommended for 122 patients based on the international basic life support termination of resuscitation (BLS-TOR) rule, which showed 85% specificity, 74% sensitivity, 0.8% FPV, and 99% PPV for predicting unfavorable survival outcomes. When the traditional BLS-TOR rules and KoCARC TOR rule II were applied to our registry, one patient met the TOR criteria but survived at hospital discharge. With regard to the FPV (upper limit of 95% confidence interval < 5%), specificity (100%), and PPV (> 99%) criteria, only the KoCARC TOR rule I, which included a combination of three factors including not being witnessed by emergency medical technicians, presenting with an asystole at the scene, and not experiencing prehospital shock delivery or return of spontaneous circulation, was found to be superior to all other TOR rules. CONCLUSION: Among the previous nine BLS and ALS TOR rules, KoCARC TOR rule I was most suitable for predicting poor survival outcomes and showed improved diagnostic performance. Further research on variations in resources and treatment protocols among facilities, regions, and cultures will be useful in determining the feasibility of TOR rules for COVID-19 patients worldwide.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation/standards , Decision Support Techniques , Medical Futility , Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest/therapy , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Emergency Medical Services , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Predictive Value of Tests , Registries , Republic of Korea , Resuscitation Orders
Indian J Med Ethics ; V(3): 189-191, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1034313


COVID-19 is an amplifier of serious physical suffering and emotional trauma, which together could be all-consuming. It is important for health systems to go beyond methods of prevention and treatment, and focus on the palliation of suffering, and to systematically integrate palliative care into Covid-19 management.

Further, in cases where the triage process indicates poor chances of survival, it is particularly important to respect autonomy by honest and sensitive disclosure of prognosis, and to jointly arrive at goals of care. Hooking every dying person to a ventilator would violate the ethical principles of beneficence and non-maleficence. It is also important to ensure at least electronic communication between the patient and family members.

Keywords: Covid-19, palliative care, end of life care, isolation, quarantine, intensive care, ethics of intubation, consent


Beneficence , COVID-19/therapy , Critical Care/ethics , Moral Obligations , Palliative Care/ethics , Stress, Psychological , Terminal Care/ethics , COVID-19/psychology , Clinical Protocols , Communication , Critical Care/psychology , Family , Fear , Humans , India , Intubation, Intratracheal , Medical Futility , Pain Management , Personal Autonomy , Prognosis , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Isolation