A look back at the first wave of COVID-19 in China: A systematic review and meta-analysis of mortality and health care resource use among severe or critical patients Academic Article uri icon

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  • Background To investigate the mortality and health care resource use among patients with severe or critical coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) in the first wave of pandemic in China. Methods We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the mortality, discharge rate, length of hospital stay, and use of invasive ventilation in severe or critical COVID-19 cases in China. We searched electronic databases for studies from China with no restrictions on language or interventions patients received. We screened records, extracted data and assessed the quality of included studies in duplicate. We performed the meta-analysis using random-effect models through a Bayesian framework. Subgroup analyses were conducted to examine studies by disease severity, study location and patient enrolment start date. We also performed sensitivity analysis using various priors, and assessed between-study heterogeneity and publication bias for the primary outcomes. Results Out of 6,205 titles and abstracts screened, 500 were reviewed in full text. A total of 42 studies were included in the review, of which 95% were observational studies (n = 40). The pooled 28-day and 14-day mortalities among severe or critical patients were 20.48% (7,136 patients, 95% credible interval (CrI), 13.11 to 30.70) and 10.83% (95% CrI, 6.78 to 16.75), respectively. The mortality declined over time and was higher in patients with critical disease than severe cases (1,235 patients, 45.73%, 95% CrI, 22.79 to 73.52 vs. 3,969 patients, 14.90%, 95% CrI, 4.70 to 39.57) and patients in Hubei compared to those outside Hubei (6,719 patients, 26.62%, 95% CrI, 13.11 to 30.70 vs. 244 patients, 5.88%, 95% CrI 2.03 to 14.11). The length of hospital stay was estimated at 18.48 days (6,847 patients, 95% CrI, 17.59 to 21.21), the 28-day discharge rate was 50.48% (3,645 patients, 95% CrI, 26.47 to 79.53), and the use of invasive ventilation rate was 13.46% (4,108 patients, 95% CrI, 7.61 to 22.31). Conclusions Our systematic review and meta-analysis found high mortality among severe and critical COVID-19 cases. Severe or critical COVID-19 cases consumed a large amount of hospital resources during the outbreak.


  • Zhang, Mengmeng
  • Hu, Peng
  • Xu, Xiaowei
  • Ai, Jingwen
  • Li, Yang
  • Bao, Yun
  • Tangamornsuksan, Wimonchat
  • Chan, Alain
  • Xie, Shelley
  • Hu, Hao
  • Liang, Shuting
  • Zhang, Wenhong
  • Xie, Feng

publication date

  • January 2022