Clinical characteristics and outcomes of critically ill coronavirus disease 2019 patients in Malaysia during the first wave: A multi-center observational study (COVIDICU-MY)

Noor Iftitah Ab Rahman, Nor’azim Mohd Yunos, Rafidah Atan, Jeevitha Mariapun, Mohd Ali‘Imran Ab Rahman, Abdul Jabbar Ismail, Shanti Rudra Deva, for the Malaysian Society of Intensive Care Research Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emerged with a wide range of clinical presentations; Malaysia was not spared from its impact. This study describes the clinical characteristics of COVID-19 patients admitted to intensive care unit, their clinical course, management, and hospital outcomes. Methods: COVIDICU-MY is a retrospective analysis of COVID-19 patients from 19 intensive care units (ICU) across Malaysia from 1 March 2020 to 31 May 2020. We collected epidemiological history, demographics, clinical comorbidities, laboratory investigations, respiratory and hemodynamic values, management, length of stay and survival status. We compared these variables between survival and non-survival groups. Results: A total of 170 critically ill patients were included, with 77% above 50 years of age [median age 60, IQR (51–66)] and 75.3% male. Hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, chronic cardiac disease, and chronic kidney disease were most common among patients. A high Simplified Acute Physiology Score (SAPS) II score [median 45, IQR (34–49)] and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score [median 8, IQR (6–11)] were associated with mortality. Patients were profoundly hypoxic with a median lowest PaO2/FiO2 ratio of 150 (IQR 99–220) at admission. 91 patients (53.5%) required intubation on their first day of admission, out of which 38 died (73.1% of the hospital non-survivors). Our sample had more patients with moderate Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), 58 patients (43.9%), compared to severe ARDS, 33 patients (25%); with both ARDS classification groups contributing to 25 patients (54.4%) and 11 patients (23.9%) of the non-survival group, respectively. Cumulative fluid balance over 24 h was higher in the non-survival group with significant differences on Day 3 (1,953 vs. 622 ml, p < 0.05) and Day 7 of ICU (3,485 vs. 830 ml, p < 0.05). Patients with high serum creatinine, urea, lactate dehydrogenase, aspartate aminotransferase and d-dimer, and low lymphocyte count throughout the stay also had a higher risk of mortality. The hospital mortality rate was 30.6% in our sample. Conclusion: We report high mortality amongst critically ill patients in intensive care units in Malaysia, at 30.6%, during the March to May 2020 period. High admission SAPS II and SOFA, and severe hypoxemia and high cumulative fluid balance were associated with mortality. Higher creatinine, urea, lactate dehydrogenase, aspartate aminotransferase and d-dimer, and lymphopenia were observed in the non-survival group.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1086288
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2023


  • acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • COVID-19
  • critically ill
  • intubation
  • mortality
  • prone

Cite this