Background Reported characteristics and outcomes of critically ill patients with COVID-19 admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) are widely disparate with varying mortality rates. No literature describes outcomes in ICU patients with COVID-19 managed by an acute care surgery (ACS) division. Our ACS division manages all ICU patients at a community hospital in New Jersey. When that hospital was overwhelmed and in crisis secondary to COVID-19, we sought to describe outcomes for all patients with COVID-19 admitted to our closed ICU managed by the ACS division. Methods This was a prospective case series of the first 120 consecutive patients with COVID-19 admitted on March 14 to May 10, 2020. Final follow-up was May 27, 2020. Patients discharged from the ICU or who died were included. Patients still admitted to the ICU at final follow-up were excluded. Results One hundred and twenty patients were included (median age 64 years (range 25-89), 66.7% men). The most common comorbidities were hypertension (75; 62.5%), obesity (61; 50.8%), and diabetes (50; 41.7%). One hundred and thirteen (94%) developed acute respiratory distress syndrome, 89 (74.2%) had shock, and 76 (63.3%) experienced acute kidney injury. One hundred (83.3%) required invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV). Median ICU length of stay (LOS) was 8.5 days (IQR 9), hospital LOS was 14.5 days (IQR 13). Mortality for all ICU patients with COVID-19 was 53.3% and 62% for IMV patients. Conclusions This is the first report of patients with COVID-19 admitted to a community hospital ICU managed by an ACS division who also provided all surge care. Mortality of critically ill patients with COVID-19 admitted to an overwhelmed hospital in crisis may not be as high as initially thought based on prior reports. While COVID-19 is a non-surgical disease, ACS divisions have the capability of successfully caring for both surgical and medical critically ill patients, thus providing versatility in times of crisis. Level of evidence Level V.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
- critical illness
- intensive care units
- respiratory distress syndrome