Clinical Outcomes of Intravenous Immunoglobulin Therapy in COVID-19 Related Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

A Retrospective Cohort Study

Husain S. Ali; Moustafa S. Elshafei; Mohamed O. Saad; Hassan A. Mitwally; Mohammad Al Wraidat; Asra Aroos; Nissar Shaikh; Dore C. Ananthegowda; Mohamed A. Abdelaty; Saibu George; Abdulqadir J. Nashwan; Ahmed S. Mohamed; Mohamad Y. Khatib


BMC Pulm Med. 2021;21(354) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) has been used as an immunomodulatory therapy to counteract severe systemic inflammation in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). But its use in COVID-19 related acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is not well established.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of electronic health records of COVID-19 patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) at Hazm Mebaireek General Hospital, Qatar, between March 7, 2020 and September 9, 2020. Patients receiving invasive mechanical ventilation for moderate-to-severe ARDS were divided into two groups based on whether they received IVIG therapy or not. The primary outcome was all-cause ICU mortality. Secondary outcomes studied were ventilator-free days and ICU-free days at day-28, and incidence of acute kidney injury (AKI). Propensity score matching was used to adjust for confounders, and the primary outcome was compared using competing-risks survival analysis.

Results: Among 590 patients included in the study, 400 received routine care, and 190 received IVIG therapy in addition to routine care. One hundred eighteen pairs were created after propensity score matching with no statistically significant differences between the groups. Overall ICU mortality in the study population was 27.1%, and in the matched cohort, it was 25.8%. Mortality was higher among IVIG-treated patients (36.4% vs. 15.3%; sHR 3.5; 95% CI 1.98–6.19; P < 0.001). Ventilator-free days and ICU-free days at day-28 were lower (P < 0.001 for both), and incidence of AKI was significantly higher (85.6% vs. 67.8%; P = 0.001) in the IVIG group.

Conclusion: IVIG therapy in mechanically ventilated patients with COVID-19 related moderate-to-severe ARDS was associated with higher ICU mortality. A randomized clinical trial is needed to confirm this observation further.