A growing number of studies on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are becoming available, but a synthesis of available data focusing on the critically ill population has not been conducted. We performed a scoping review to synthesize clinical characteristics, treatment, and clinical outcomes among critically ill patients with COVID-19. Between January 1, 2020, and May 15, 2020, we identified high-quality clinical studies describing critically ill patients with a sample size of greater than 20 patients by performing daily searches of the World Health Organization and LitCovid databases on COVID-19. Two reviewers independently reviewed all abstracts (2785 unique articles), full text (218 articles), and abstracted data (92 studies). The 92 studies included 61 from Asia, 16 from Europe, 10 from North and South America, and 5 multinational studies. Notable similarities among critically ill populations across all regions included a higher proportion of older males infected and with severe illness, high frequency of comorbidities (hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease), abnormal chest imaging findings, and death secondary to respiratory failure. Differences in regions included newly identified complications (eg, pulmonary embolism) and epidemiological risk factors (eg, obesity), less chest computed tomography performed, and increased use of invasive mechanical ventilation (70% to 100% vs 15% to 47% of intensive care unit patients) in Europe and the United States compared with Asia. Future research directions should include proof-of-mechanism studies to better understand organ injuries and large-scale collaborative clinical studies to evaluate the efficacy and safety of antivirals, antibiotics, interleukin 6 receptor blockers, and interferon. The current established predictive models require further verification in other regions outside China.
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