Publication date: Sep 07, 2023
Limited data is available on the incidence and outcomes of pneumothorax (PTX), pneumomediastinum (PNM), and subcutaneous emphysema (SCE) in COVID-19 patients. This study aimed to investigate the characteristics of these complications in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. A retrospective study was conducted, involving adult COVID-19 patients admitted to Mayo Clinic Florida from 03/2020-06/2022. Patients were divided into two groups based on the presence or absence of PTX/PNM/SCE. 1926 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 were included, of which 518 were admitted to the ICU. The incidence of PTX/PNM/SCE was 6. 3%. Patients with these complications were more likely to be male, Asian, and unvaccinated. Conversely, they were less likely to have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Patients who developed PTX/PNM/SCE after 72 hours of admission were more likely to receive high-dose corticosteroids and for an extended duration. The affected group had an adjusted odds ratio for in-hospital mortality of 13. 32 (95%CI, 8. 19-21. 59) and ICU admission of 9. 14 (95%CI, 5. 3-12. 78) compared to the unaffected group. Although the occurrence of PTX/PNM/SCE in hospitalized COVID-19 patients was rare, it was associated with worse outcomes. Corticosteroids may contribute to the pathogenesis of these complications; however, further studies are needed to investigate this relationship in more detail.