Role of Respiratory Intermediate Care Units During the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic

Mónica Matute-Villacís; Jorge Moisés; Cristina Embid; Judith Armas; Isabel Fárnandez; Montserrat Medina; Miquel Ferrer; Oriol Sibila; Joan Ramón Badia


BMC Pulm Med. 2021;21(228) 

In This Article


Organizational RICU Aspects

To respond to the increased health-care demands caused by the first wave of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, our institution built/transform several new ICU and RICUs. We describe here the logistics and organization of two of them, who were designed, lead and managed by members of the Pulmonary Division of Hospital Clinic (Barcelona, Spain).

Clinical Performance

We analyzed retrospectively the characteristics and outcomes of patients with moderate/severe COVID-19 admitted to these two RICUs from April 1 until May 30, 2020 because: (1) severe respiratory failure with high oxygen requirements (FiO2 > 40%); (2) need of ventilatory support with NIV or HFNC (PaO2 < 60 mmHg, respiratory rate (RR) > 30 bpm, chest incoordination, respiratory acidosis and/or hypercapnia); (3) septic shock; (4) transferred from ICU; and/or (5) not candidates for admission to ICU (do not resuscitate order). In these patients, we analyzed their anthropometric data, comorbidities, previous treatments, treatment received for COVID-19, length of stay (LOS) and mortality.


The study was approved by our Institutional Review Board (Comité Ètic d'Investigació Clínica – Hospital Clinic de Barcelona. HCB/2021/0425).

Statistical Analysis

Results are expressed as mean ± standard deviation (SD) for quantitative variables that followed a normal distribution, and as median and IQR otherwise. Qualitative variables are expressed as total number and percentage. Fisher exact test was used to compare qualitative variables. Student T-Test or Mann–Whitney U test, as appropriate, were used to compare quantitative variables. Kaplan Meier curves for 90 days mortality was compared by the log-rank test. A two-sided p value lower than 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Analyses were done using SPSS (version 22.0; SPSS Inc, Chicago, Illinois, USA).