News Release

How does COVID-19 compare with bacterial and viral pneumonia for older patients in intensive care?

Peer-Reviewed Publication


New research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society indicates that for older patients in intensive care units (ICUs), COVID-19 is more severe than bacterial or viral pneumonia.

Among 11,525 patients aged 70 years and older who were admitted to Dutch ICUs, ICU-mortality and hospital-mortality rates of patients admitted with COVID-19 were 39.7% and 47.6%, respectively. These rates were higher than the mortality of patients admitted because of pneumonia from causes other than COVID. (ICU- and hospital-mortality rates of patients admitted with bacterial pneumonia were 19.1% and 28.8%, respectively, and with viral pneumonia were 22.7% and 31.8%, respectively). Differences persisted after adjusting for several clinical characteristics and intensive care unit occupancy rate.

“In ICU-patients aged 70 years and older, COVID-19 is more severe—with approximately double mortality rates—compared with bacterial or viral pneumonia. Nevertheless, more than half of these older patients admitted to Dutch ICUs with COVID-19 survived the hospital,” said corresponding author Lenneke E. M. Haas, MD, PhD, of Diakonessenhuis, in the Netherlands. “Our findings provide important additional data to include in informed goals-of-care discussions.”

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About the Journal
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS) is the go-to journal for clinical aging research. We provide a diverse, interprofessional community of healthcare professionals with the latest insights on geriatrics education, clinical practice, and public policy—all supporting the high-quality, person-centered care essential to our well-being as we age. 

About Wiley
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