FRIDAY, May 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Older age, male sex, and history of diabetes are factors predictive of intubation among hospitalized patients with COVID-19, while age and body mass index are associated with time to extubation, according to a study published online May 19 in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

Kevin Hur, M.D., from the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues examined sociodemographic and clinical characteristics associated with intubation and prolonged intubation for acute respiratory failure secondary to COVID-19 infection among 486 patients admitted between March 1 and April 8, 2020.

The researchers found that 55.8 percent of the patients were male and the median body mass index was 30.6 kg/m². Overall, 28.4 percent of patients were intubated during the hospitalization; 56.5 percent of these patients were eventually extubated, while 15.2 percent died and 28.3 percent remained intubated at a median follow-up of 19.6 days. Compared with nonintubated patients, intubated patients had a significantly higher median age (65 versus 57 years) and higher rate of diabetes (40.6 versus 29.9 percent). Age, sex, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, history of diabetes, and shortness of breath were identified as factors predictive of intubation. The only factors independently associated with time to extubation were age and body mass index.

“With the limited supply of mechanical ventilators nationally, understanding which patients will need a mechanical ventilator longer will help hospitals and public health officials more effectively allocate limited resources,” Hur said in a statement.

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