Mortality in mechanically ventilated patients with COVID-19: a systematic review

Maria Tsikala Vafea, Raina Zhang, Markos Kalligeros, Evangelia K. Mylona, Fadi Shehadeh, Eleftherios Mylonakis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction: The use of mechanical ventilation associated with acute hypoxemic respiratory failure, the most common complication in critically ill COVID-19 patients, defines a high risk population that requires specific consideration of outcomes and treatment practices. Areas covered: This review evaluates existing information about mortality rates and effectiveness of antiviral, immune-modulating, and anticoagulation treatments in COVID-19 patients who received mechanical ventilation. The mortality rate and follow-up periods in patients receiving mechanical ventilation ranged widely. Antivirals, including remdesivir and convalescent plasma, have shown no definitive mortality benefit in this population despite positive results in other COVID-19 patients. Dexamethasone was associated with an absolute reduction in 28-day mortality by 12.3% (95% CI, 6.3 to 17.6), after adjusting for age. Reduced mortality has been demonstrated with tocilizumab use alongside corticosteroids. Evidence is inconclusive for therapeutic anticoagulation, and further studies are needed to determine the comparative benefit of prophylactic anticoagulation. Expert opinion: Significant variation and high mortality rates in mechanically ventilated patients necessitate more standardized outcome measurements, increased consideration of risk factors to reduce intubation, and improved treatment practices. Anticoagulation and dexamethasone should be incorporated in the treatment of patients receiving invasive mechanical ventilation, while more rigorous studies are required for other potential treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-471
Number of pages15
JournalExpert Review of Medical Devices
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021


  • Anticoagulation
  • ards
  • covid-19
  • dexamethasone
  • hydroxychloroquine
  • mortality
  • remdesivir
  • tocilizumab
  • ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Biomedical Engineering


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