“In the first wave we had 26 patients admitted to intensive care, while in the second we had 46. We have realized that most are men with underlying diseases or disorders, but the prognosis of each subgroup still needs to be investigated”, explains Dr. Guillermo Pérez, a physician attached to the aforementioned area of the capital hospital and one of the directors of this research, which is expected to be published in scientific journals over the next few months.
Regarding the complications suffered by the patients, the group observed a clear reduction in endotracheal tube obstruction. This is a serious effect that intensivists have also been investigating since March, in collaboration with the Institute for Technological Development and Innovation in Communication (Idetic) and the University Institute of Technological and Cybernetic Sciences (Iuctc) of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), with the purpose of predicting it through the use of artificial intelligence.
It should be remembered that the aforementioned educational institution awarded a scholarship valued at 5,727.05 euros to this study, which is still in the development phase. However, the knowledge obtained so far has been able to be extrapolated to the new line of work, which concluded in December, scoring very encouraging results.
“Right now, endotracheal tube obstruction –which leads patients to stop ventilating– is below 50%, while in the first stage the percentage was 77%. This shows that, despite having more people admitted, we have managed to reduce this effect ”, assesses the physician.
The mortality rate in critics remains below 20%
But what has happened to the rest of the complications that patients who come to the ICU usually experience? As detailed by the specialist, they remain without noting variations. “The occurrence of cardiac arrhythmias or kidney failure, for example, has not decreased, but it has not increased either. It is clear that we have to continue improving, but this information helps us to move forward ”, he says. Likewise, the percentage of mortality continues to be below 20%, reaching a reduction even in the second stage, although not significantly.
What has influenced the results? Dr. Pérez is very clear about it. On the one hand, the knowledge you already have about the disease. On the other, the improvement in therapeutic management. “In the second wave we already knew the complications that these patients could present, so we have been working proactively, monitoring these effects and trying to prevent them. Furthermore, we have made progress in therapeutic management following worldwide recommendations ”, adds the intensivist. In this sense, the healthcare professional highlights the early administration of corticosteroids and antivirals such as Remdesivir, as well as the increased use of non-invasive ventilation techniques and the application of active humidification.
As for the average age group of the patients, as between March and July, it continues to be around 65 years. “The trend has not changed, but it should be taken into account that the fact of suffering from comorbidities increases the risk of admission to ICU, despite being younger, in the case of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 infection. For this reason, it is very important to respect safety measures and comply with health recommendations ”, the expert emphasizes.
It should be noted that in this study, in addition to Dr. Guillermo Pérez, intensivists Juan Carlos Martín, José Blanco and Luciano Santana have participated, as well as residents Paula Padrón and Tania Carrillo.