Original research

Comparison of patients with severe COVID‑19 admitted to an intensive care unit in South Africa during the first and second wave of the COVID‑19 pandemic

U Lalla, CFN Koegelenberg, BW Allwood, LN Sigwadhi, EM Irusen, EM Zemlin, TE Masha, RT Erasmus, ZC Chapanduka, H Prozesky, J Taljaard, A Parker, EH Decloedt, F Retief, TP Jalavu, VD Ngah, A Yalew, JL Tamuzi, N Baines, M McAllister, A Zumla, PS Nyasulu

Abstract


Background. The second wave of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19), dominated by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Beta variant, has been reported to be associated with increased severity in South Africa (SA).

Objectives. To describe and compare clinical characteristics, management and outcomes of COVID‑19 patients admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) in SA during the first and second waves.

Methods. In a prospective, single-centre, descriptive study, we compared all patients with severe COVID‑19 admitted to ICU during the first and second waves. The primary outcomes assessed were ICU mortality and ICU length of stay (LOS).

Results. In 490 patients with comparable ages and comorbidities, no difference in mortality was demonstrated during the second compared with the first wave (65.9% v. 62.5%, p=0.57). ICU LOS was longer in the second wave (10 v. 6 days, p<0.001). More female admissions (67.1% v. 44.6%, p<0.001) and a greater proportion of patients were managed with invasive mechanical ventilation than with non-invasive respiratory support (39.0% v. 14%, p<0.001) in the second wave.

Conclusions. While clinical characteristics were comparable between the two waves, a higher proportion of patients was invasively ventilated and ICU stay was longer in the second. ICU mortality was unchanged. Keywords. COVID‑19; SARS-CoV-2; ICU; waves; management; mortality; clinical characteristics; outcomes.


Authors' affiliations

U Lalla, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

CFN Koegelenberg, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

BW Allwood, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

LN Sigwadhi, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

EM Irusen, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

EM Zemlin, Division of Chemical Pathology, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

TE Masha, Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences, Peninsula University of Technology Bellville Campus, Cape Town

RT Erasmus, Division of Chemical Pathology, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

ZC Chapanduka, Division of Haematological Pathology, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and NHLS Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

H Prozesky, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

J Taljaard, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

A Parker, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

EH Decloedt, Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

F Retief, Department of Anaesthesia and Critical Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

TP Jalavu, Division of Chemical Pathology, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

VD Ngah, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

A Yalew, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa; 9 Department of Statistics, College of Natural and Computational Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia; National Data Management Centre for Health, Ethiopian Public Health Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

JL Tamuzi, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

N Baines, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

M McAllister, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

A Zumla, Division of Infection and Immunity, Centre for Clinical Microbiology, University College London, Royal Free Campus, London, UK; NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, UCL Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK

PS Nyasulu, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa; Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Cite this article

African Journal of Thoracic and Critical Care Medicine 2021;27(4):.

Article History

Date submitted: 2022-03-03
Date published: 2022-03-03

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African Journal of Thoracic and Critical Care Medicine| Online ISSN: 2617-0205

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