Exeter, Devon UK • May 18, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home NewsCOVID-19 COVID-19: Mortality risk increases when ICUs are full

COVID-19: Mortality risk increases when ICUs are full

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COVID-19: Mortality risk increases when ICUs are full

Image: Calleamanecer via Wikimedia Commons

COVID-19 patients admitted to very full hospitals have an increased chance of dying, equivalent to being up to 11 years older, new research has revealed.

The study, co-led by UCL researchers and the University of Exeter, analysed data from around 4,000 patients admitted to Intensive Care Units (ICU) due to COVID-19 in the first lockdown. Researchers studied patient ICU outcomes from 2 April to 1 June 2020, and assessed the impact of availability of beds with access to ventilators.

According to the research, when ICU reached 85 per cent capacity (the point at which an emergency is declared), around 40 per cent of patients admitted to ICU died. The risk of mortality decreased by a quarter when ICU capacity was lower than 45 per cent.

According to the research, when ICU reached 85 per cent capacity (the point at which an emergency is declared), around 40 per cent of patients admitted to ICU died. The risk of mortality decreased by a quarter when ICU capacity was lower than 45 per cent.

Discussing the findings, Dr Bilal Mateen (UCL Institute of Health Informatics), said: “To put into context as to why these results are so important – at the end of 2020, 37 of 123 recorded NHS trusts were experiencing over 85 per cent ICU bed occupancy; 11 of these were completely full and the situation has only got more extreme.”

Christina Pagel, UCL Professor of Maths and Physical Sciences, added: “This paper highlights for the first time that putting such strain on ICUs during pandemic peaks does, sadly, mean that the chances of someone dying in intensive care are higher.”


Editor: Ella Shadwell

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