COVID-19 management in a cancer center: the ICU storm

Support Care Cancer. 2020 Jul 31. doi: 10.1007/s00520-020-05658-9. Online ahead of print.


A novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was first reported as a respiratory illness in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. Since then, the World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Committee declared a global health. COVID-19 has now spread worldwide and is responsible of more than 472,216 persons, out of 9,100,090 officially diagnosed worldwide since 23 of June. In the context of cancer patients, COVID-19 has a severe impact, regarding pulmonary infection but also cancer treatments in this fragile and immunocompromised population, and ICU admission for cancer patients in the context of COVID-19 requires ethical and clinical consideration. In our cancer center, intensivists, oncologists, pharmacists, and hospital administrators had to prepare for a substantial increase in critical care bed capacity (from 10 ICU beds, 6 medical intensive care beds, and 12 surgical intensive care beds, bed capacity was increased to 28 medical intensive care beds with ventilating capacity) and to adapt infrastructure (i.e., ICU beds), supplies (i.e., drugs, ventilators, protective materials), and staff (i.e., nurses and medical staff). Overall, thirty-three COVID-19 patients were admitted in our ICU, 17 cancer-free and 16 with cancer, and 23 required mechanical ventilation, resulting in 4 deaths (of them two patients with cancer). We report here management of a dedicated intensive care unit of a cancer center during the COVID-19 infection pandemic, considering resource allocation and redistribution of healthcare workers.

PMID:32734394 | DOI:10.1007/s00520-020-05658-9