Cardiac arrest is common in critically ill patients with COVID-19 and is associated with poor survival, particularly among patients aged 80 or older, finds a study published by the BMJ .
The study authors say the findings could help guide end-of-life care discussions with critically ill patients and their families.
The findings are based on data for 5,019 critically ill adults with COVID-19 admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) at 68 hospitals across the United States and found that 701 (14%) patients had in-hospital cardiac arrest within 14 days of admission to ICU, of whom 400 (57%) received cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Patients who had in-hospital cardiac arrest were older, had more comorbidities, and were more likely to be admitted to a hospital with fewer ICU beds.
Importantly, this suggests that hospital resources, staffing, expertise, strain, or other factors not captured in this study, could have had a major impact, note the researchers.
Patients who received CPR were younger than those who did not. Among those who did receive CPR, 12 per cent survived to hospital discharge. Only 7 per cent did so with normal or mildly impaired neurological status.