(HealthDay) – According to a study published online Jan. 19 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, mortality in adults with COVID-19-related critical illnesses who were admitted to the intensive care unit has declined over time.

George L. Anesi, MD of the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia and colleagues describe the epidemiology of COVID-19-related critical illness, including trends in outcomes and service delivery, in a retrospective multi-hospital cohort study. Data were collected for 468 patients with COVID-19-related critical illness who were admitted to intensive care units during the first surge in the pandemic from March 1 to May 11, 2020. 68.2 and 25.9 percent were treated with mechanical ventilation and vasopressors, respectively.

The researchers found that all-cause mortality after 28 days in hospital was 29.9 percent, the median ICU stay was eight days, the median hospital stay was 13 days, and the 30-day readmission rate was 10.8 percent. Over time, there was a decrease in mortality between the first and last 15-day periods, from 43.5 percent to 19.2 percent. No change in patient acuity or other factors was observed.

“The centers should expect an increasing number of survivors of COVID-19-related critical illness if the pandemic continues,” the authors write. “Further studies are needed to confirm this finding and investigate causal mechanisms.”

Several authors have disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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