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Journal Title

J Med Internet Res


BACKGROUND: Northwell Health, an integrated health system in New York, has treated more than 15,000 inpatients with COVID-19 at the US epicenter of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

OBJECTIVE: We describe the demographic characteristics of patients who died of COVID-19, observation of frequent rapid response team/cardiac arrest (RRT/CA) calls for non-intensive care unit (ICU) patients, and factors that contributed to RRT/CA calls.

METHODS: A team of registered nurses reviewed the medical records of inpatients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 via polymerase chain reaction before or on admission and who died between March 13 (first Northwell Health inpatient expiration) and April 30, 2020, at 15 Northwell Health hospitals. The findings for these patients were abstracted into a database and statistically analyzed.

RESULTS: Of 2634 patients who died of COVID-19, 1478 (56.1%) had oxygen saturation levels ≥90% on presentation and required no respiratory support. At least one RRT/CA was called on 1112/2634 patients (42.2%) at a non-ICU level of care. Before the RRT/CA call, the most recent oxygen saturation levels for 852/1112 (76.6%) of these non-ICU patients were at least 90%. At the time the RRT/CA was called, 479/1112 patients (43.1%) had an oxygen saturation of <80%.

CONCLUSIONS: This study represents one of the largest reviewed cohorts of mortality that also captures data in nonstructured fields. Approximately 50% of deaths occurred at a non-ICU level of care despite admission to the appropriate care setting with normal staffing. The data imply a sudden, unexpected deterioration in respiratory status requiring RRT/CA in a large number of non-ICU patients. Patients admitted at a non-ICU level of care suffered rapid clinical deterioration, often with a sudden decrease in oxygen saturation. These patients could benefit from additional monitoring (eg, continuous central oxygenation saturation), although this approach warrants further study.

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Faculty; Northwell Researcher


School of Medicine; Northwell Health

Primary Department


Additional Departments

Molecular Medicine; Science Education; COVID-19 Publications





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Rheumatology Commons