Intensive care for seriously ill patients affected by novel coronavirus sars – CoV – 2: Experience of the Crema Hospital, Italy.
In this work, the survival and mortality data of 54 consecutive patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and suffering from severe respiratory insufficiency imputable to viral SARS – CoV – 2 infection were analyzed and shared, after a critical review of the evidence in order to optimize the most dedicated clinical and treatment strategy, for a future ‘targeted’ management in the care of the possible return flu outbreak.At our Emergency Department of the Crema Hospital, from the beginning of the pandemic until the end of June 2020, 54 consecutive patients admitted to ICU suffering from severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and severe respiratory distress (ARDS) attributable to viral SARS – CoV – 2 infection were recruited. The recruitment criterion was based on refractory hypoxia, general condition and clinical impairment, comorbidities and CT images. The incoming parameters of the blood chemistry and radiology investigations and the timing of the gold – tracheal intubation were compared. Medical therapy was based on the application of shared protocols.The onset of symptoms was varyng, i.e. within the range of 1-14 days. The average time from the admission to the emergency room to the admission to intensive care was approximately 120 h. The average number of days of hospitalization in the ICU was 28 days. With a majority of male patients, the most significant age group was between 60 and 69 years. There were 21 deaths and, compared to the survivors, the deceased ones were older at an average age of about 67 years (vs an average age of the survivors of about 59 years). From the available data entering the ICU, the surviving patients presented average better values of oximetry and blood gas analysis, with a lower average dosage of D-Dimer than the deceased. Ones with a presence of bilateral pneumonia in all patients, the worsening of the ARDS occurred in 31 patients. 9 out of 25 patients early intubated died, while 12 out of 23 patients died when intubation was performed after 24 h of non-invasive ventilation. The presence of multiple comorbidities was shown in 17 of 28 patients and revealed an additional adverse prognostic factor. Also, more than one complication in the same patient were detected; after respiratory worsening, renal failure was more frequently found in 16 patients. Some particular complications such as lesions induced by ventilation with barotrauma mechanism (VILI), ischemic heart disease and the appearance of central and peripheral neurological events were detected too.SARS – CoV – 2 disease is caused by a new coronavirus that has its main route of transmission through respiratory droplets and close contact, resulting in a sudden onset of the clinical syndrome with acute respiratory infection (SARI) and severe respiratory distress (ARDS). But it can also appear with other symptoms such as gastrointestinal or neurological events, as to be considered as a disease with multisystem phenotype. This pathology evolves towards a serious form of systemic disease from an acute lung damage to venous and arterial thromboembolic complications and multi-organ failure, mostly associated with high mortality. All patients received empirical or targeted antibiotic therapy for prevention and control of infections of potential pathogens, together with low molecular weight heparin therapy. The majority of patients was subjected to the off – label protocol with antivirals and hydroxychloroquine therapy, we used cortisone support therapy under surveillance and in 3 cases the protocol with anti – IL6 monoclonal antibody (Tolicizumab). In a simplified classification of the tomographic examination of the chest, mostly 3D and 2C lesions were found in the deceased patients with a prevalence of severe and moderate forms, whilst in the survivors the distribution appears with a prevalence of medium and moderate forms. Among the intubated patients, 21 patients, all suffering from worsening ARDS, died whilst there was no mortality in patients subjected to non-invasive ventilation it so. The heterogeneity of the respiratory syndromes and the presence of multiple comorbidities represent an unfortunate prognostic factor. Among the complications, besides the respiratory worsening, renal failure, liver failure and the state of sepsis were most frequently found; less frequent complications were lesions induced by ventilation with a barotrauma mechanism, ischemic heart disease, the appearance of central neurological events of sensory alterations, meningo – encephalitis and cerebral hemorrhage, and peripheral neurological events with polyneuro – myopathies. Mechanical ventilation can adversely affect the prognosis due to lung damage induced, protective ventilation remains the necessary treatment during severe hypoxia in patients with SARS – CoV – 2. The essential prerequisite remains the search for optimal ‘customized’ values since conditions can vary from patient to patient and, in the same patient, during different times of ventilation.In these extraordinary circumstances, our reality was among the most affected and was able to hold the impact thanks to the immediate great response set in place by the operators, although it costed us an effort especially the one to try to guarantee a high quality level of assistance and care compared to the huge wave of patients in seriously bad conditions. Further research on this heterogeneous pathology and data sharing could help identify a more dedicated clinical decision-making and treatment pathway that, together with a resource planning, would allow us to better face any new disease outbreak.