Which type of corona patients end up in Spanish ICU?

by Deborah Cater
ICU patients during three corona waves have many differences and similarities

Now Covid-19 has been in Spain for more than a year, it is interesting to compare collected data on the virus. There appear to be differences, yet some similarities, between the ICU patient during the first wave and subsequent peaks.

In Spain, 96 intensive care units – the country has a total of 250 – shared their data on the profile of the average IC patient during the first three corona waves. The data shows, for example, the average age has dropped slightly. Before July 2020, the mean age of patients in the ICU was 64 years. Between July 2020 and February 2021, the average age was 62 years.

During the second and third corona wave, it is noticeable that more people under the age of 50 ended up in the ICU compared to the first peak. This increase was greatest among people between the ages of 40 and 50.

Mortality rate still worrisome in Spain

Despite these differences, there are also things that have not changed, the statistics of which are still worrying. For example, the mortality rate remained the same despite the fact increasingly younger people end up in ICU. 30% of ICU patients in Spain die from Covid-19. According to one of the principal investigators, the percentage is so high due to the lack of a cure.

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More men in ICU

Another aspect that remained the same is more men end up in ICU than women. 70% of ICU patients are male. During the first wave there were an average of 7 days between the first symptoms and the hospitalisation. During the second and third waves it was an average of 8 days. The average hospital stay of ICU patients decreased from 15 days before July 2020 to 13 days between July 2020 and February 2021.

Same underlying conditions

The underlying conditions of patients have hardly changed. High blood pressure, obesity and diabetes are still the most common conditions experienced before becoming infected with Covid-19. 

What do we know about the fourth corona wave in Spain?

Not enough can be said about the statistics of the fourth corona wave. Fernando Simón of the corona crisis centre mentioned it is striking that even younger people ended up in the ICU in the second half of April. One of the reasons the average age is decreasing is that Spain has started vaccinating the elderly. Therefore, this target group ends up in the ICU less often.

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