Critical Care and Shock

Age factor and COVID-19: Are there limits to be admitted in the ICU? An ethical issue

Author(s)

Abstract

Objective: The aim of this article is to clarify different aspects including ethics about the elderly patients during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) scenario in Spain.

Design: Retrospective, observational.

Methods: Description and comparison of all age groups by confirmed cases and hospitalizations, with special emphasis on those elderly admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and mortality. Study of the ethical recommendations of different Spanish scientific societies with treatment proposals for the elderly group. Patients were divided into 6 different age groups. Group I (0-14 years), Group 2 (15-29 years), Group 3 (30-49 years), Group 4 (50-69 years), Group 5 (70-79 years), and Group 6 (>80 years).

Results: The number of confirmed cases during the study was 250,273 and 20,534 deaths. The global mortality was 8.2%. Number of hospitalized patients was 37.1% and 18.25% died. Three point one percent were admitted to the ICU with a mortality of 30.4%. ICU admission ratio: Group 4 51.7%, Group 5 28.4%, and Group 6 4.95%. Average age survivors were 58 (44-76 years), 83 (75-89 years) corresponding to Group 5-6. Non-ICU mortality increased to 14.6% in Group 5, while Group 6 achieved the highest mortality (21.7%).

Conclusion: The number of elderly patients admitted to the ICU was exceptionally low.