Most elderly covid-19 patients put on ventilators at two New York hospitals did not survive, according to a sweeping study published Tuesday that captured the brutal nature of this new disease and the many ways it attacks the body.
The study, published in the Lancet, is broadly consistent with clinical findings from China and Europe, and confirmed that advanced age is the greatest risk factor for a severe outcome, particularly if accompanied by chronic underlying diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
The high mortality rate, especially among elderly patients with some underlying disease, stunned Max O’Donnell, the senior author of the study and a pulmonologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
“We had no idea how horrific this would be,” he said. “Definitely not just the flu.”
The research focused on 257 critically ill adults, representing a little under one-quarter of the confirmed coronavirus patients admitted at the two hospitals in northern Manhattan between March 2 and April 1. The median age of critically ill patients was 62 years, and two-thirds of them were male.
Of the critically ill patients studied, 39 percent had died by April 28, and 37 percent remained hospitalized at Milstein and Allen hospitals.