Current best evidence for clinical care (more info)
INTRODUCTION: Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) often leads to mortality. Outcomes of patients with COVID-19-related ARDS compared to ARDS unrelated to COVID-19 is not well characterized.
AREAS COVERED: We performed a systematic review of PubMed, Scopus, and MedRxiv 11/1/2019 to 3/1/2021, including studies comparing outcomes in COVID-19-related ARDS (COVID-19 group) and ARDS unrelated to COVID-19 (ARDS group). Outcomes investigated were duration of mechanical ventilation-free days, intensive care unit (ICU) length-of-stay (LOS), hospital LOS, and mortality. Random effects models were fit for each outcome measure. Effect sizes were reported as pooled median differences of medians (MDMs), mean differences (MDs), or odds ratios (ORs).
EXPERT OPINION: Ten studies with 2,281 patients met inclusion criteria (COVID-19: 861 [37.7%], ARDS: 1420 [62.3%]). There were no significant differences between the COVID-19 and ARDS groups for median number of mechanical ventilator-free days (MDM: -7.0 [95% CI: -14.8; 0.7], p = 0.075), ICU LOS (MD: 3.1 [95% CI: -5.9; 12.1], p = 0.501), hospital LOS (MD: 2.5 [95% CI: -5.6; 10.7], p = 0.542), or all-cause mortality (OR: 1.25 [95% CI: 0.78; 1.99], p = 0.361). Compared to the general ARDS population, results did not suggest worse outcomes in COVID-19-related ARDS.
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This systematic review found no obvious evidence of better or worse outcomes among ARDS patients with vs without COVID-19 infection. For all outcomes, the heterogeneity appeared very high, with studies that found statistical evidence of both better and worse outcomes with COVID-19. The answer to this question remains unanswered, but for now there is no convincing evidence that ARDS associated with COVID-19 has a better or worse prognosis than ARDS without COVID-19.