ICU deaths have fallen among COVID-19 patients, but progress is stalling

COVID-19 mortality rates among patients in intensive care have fallen since peaking last spring, but this improvement is plateauing, according to a study published Feb. 1 in Anaesthesia

For the study, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 52 studies tracking the outcomes of 43,128 patients worldwide. The studies were published through October 2020 — before the emergence of several coronavirus variants that may have fueled an increase in ICU demand, the researchers said.

The overall mortality rate at the end of September was 35.5 percent, down from 41.6 percent in May. Researchers pointed to advancements in oxygen therapy, fluid and anticoagulation management as the reason for this decrease in deaths. 

However, researchers found this decrease in ICU mortality has plateaued since May. In most parts of the world, this rate falls between 30 percent and 40 percent.

The research does not account for global differences in ICU care and patients' underlying health conditions, which is a study limitation. Researchers said more standardized reporting would allow for better comparisons of outcomes between locations and time periods. 

To view the full study, click here.

 

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