Incidence of Air Leaks in Critically Ill Patients with Acute Hypoxemic Respiratory Failure Due to COVID-19

on behalf of the PRoVENT–COVID and PRoAcT–COVID Investigators

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Subcutaneous emphysema, pneumothorax and pneumomediastinum are well-known complications of invasive ventilation in patients with acute hypoxemic respiratory failure. We determined the incidences of air leaks that were visible on available chest images in a cohort of critically ill patients with acute hypoxemic respiratory failure due to coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) in a single-center cohort in the Netherlands. A total of 712 chest images from 154 patients were re-evaluated by a multidisciplinary team of independent assessors; there was a median of three (2–5) chest radiographs and a median of one (1–2) chest CT scans per patient. The incidences of subcutaneous emphysema, pneumothoraxes and pneumomediastinum present in 13 patients (8.4%) were 4.5%, 4.5%, and 3.9%. The median first day of the presence of an air leak was 18 (2–21) days after arrival in the ICU and 18 (9–22)days after the start of invasive ventilation. We conclude that the incidence of air leaks was high in this cohort of COVID-19 patients, but it was fairly comparable with what was previously reported in patients with acute hypoxemic respiratory failure in the pre-COVID-19 era.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1156
JournalDiagnostics (Basel, Switzerland)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023

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