Nosocomial infections associated to COVID-19 in the intensive care unit: clinical characteristics and outcome

Tommaso Bardi, Vicente Pintado, Maria Gomez-Rojo, Rosa Escudero-Sanchez, Amal Azzam Lopez, Yolanda Diez-Remesal, Nilda Martinez Castro, Patricia Ruiz-Garbajosa, David Pestaña
European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases 2021 January 3
Bacterial and fungal co-infection has been reported in patients with COVID-19, but there is limited experience on these infections in critically ill patients. The objective of this study was to assess the characteristics and ouctome of ICU-acquired infections in COVID-19 patients. We conducted a retrospective single-centre, case-control study including 140 patients with severe COVID-19 admitted to the ICU between March and May 2020. We evaluated the epidemiological, clinical, and microbiological features, and outcome of ICU-acquired infections. Fifty-seven patients (40.7%) developed a bacterial or fungal nosocomial infection during ICU stay. Infection occurred after a median of 9 days (IQR 5-11) of admission and was significantly associated with the APACHE II score (p = 0.02). There were 91 episodes of infection: primary (31%) and catheter-related (25%) bloodstream infections were the most frequent, followed by pneumonia (23%), tracheobronchitis (10%), and urinary tract infection (8%) that were produced by a wide spectrum of Gram-positive (55%) and Gram-negative bacteria (30%) as well as fungi (15%). In 60% of cases, infection was associated with septic shock and a significant increase in SOFA score. Overall ICU mortality was 36% (51/140). Infection was significantly associated with death (OR 2.7, 95% CI 1.2-5.9, p = 0.015) and a longer ICU stay (p < 0.001). Bacterial and fungal nosocomial infection is a common complication of ICU admission in patients with COVID-19. It usually presents as a severe form of infection, and it is associated with a high mortality and longer course of ICU stay.

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