Early Intubation and Decreased In-Hospital Mortality in Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019

Ryo Yamamoto; Daiki Kaito; Koichiro Homma; Akira Endo; Takashi Tagami; Morio Suzuki; Naoyuki Umetani; Masayuki Yagi; Eisaku Nashiki; Tomohiro Suhara; Hiromasa Nagata; Hiroki Kabata; Koichi Fukunaga; Kazuma Yamakawa; Mineji Hayakawa; Takayuki Ogura; Atsushi Hirayama; Hideo Yasunaga; Junichi Sasaki


Crit Care. 2022;26(124) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Some academic organizations recommended that physicians intubate patients with COVID-19 with a relatively lower threshold of oxygen usage particularly in the early phase of pandemic. We aimed to elucidate whether early intubation is associated with decreased in-hospital mortality among patients with novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) who required intubation.

Methods: A multicenter, retrospective, observational study was conducted at 66 hospitals in Japan where patients with moderate-to-severe COVID-19 were treated between January and September 2020. Patients who were diagnosed as COVID-19 with a positive reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction test and intubated during admission were included. Early intubation was defined as intubation conducted in the setting of ≤ 6 L/min of oxygen usage. In-hospital mortality was compared between patients with early and non-early intubation. Inverse probability weighting analyses with propensity scores were performed to adjust patient demographics, comorbidities, hemodynamic status on admission and time at intubation, medications before intubation, severity of COVID-19, and institution characteristics. Subgroup analyses were conducted on the basis of age, severity of hypoxemia at intubation, and days from admission to intubation.

Results: Among 412 patients eligible for the study, 110 underwent early intubation. In-hospital mortality was lower in patients with early intubation than those with non-early intubation (18 [16.4%] vs. 88 [29.1%]; odds ratio, 0.48 [95% confidence interval 0.27–0.84]; p = 0.009, and adjusted odds ratio, 0.28 [95% confidence interval 0.19–0.42]; p < 0.001). The beneficial effects of early intubation were observed regardless of age and severity of hypoxemia at time of intubation; however, early intubation was associated with lower in-hospital mortality only among patients who were intubated later than 2 days after admission.

Conclusions: Early intubation in the setting of ≤ 6 L/min of oxygen usage was associated with decreased in-hospital mortality among patients with COVID-19 who required intubation.

Trial Registration: None.