About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland is the fifth report on data from the Scottish Intensive Care Society Audit Group (SICSAG) relating to patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) and high dependency units (HDUs) across Scotland with COVID-19. This report differs from data published on 8 July 2020 and earlier relating to patients admitted to Scottish ICUs with COVID-19 disease, as it only includes those patients whose laboratory test was positive in the 21 days before critical care admission or during the critical care stay.

Main points

During the period 1 March 2020 to 30 January 2021

  • There were 1,538 admissions to ICUs in Scotland relating to 1,478 patients with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 disease.
Image caption Number of ICU admissions with COVID-19
Number of ICU admissions with COVID-19
  • In wave 2 a higher proportion of patients were managed with non-invasive ventilation on admission to ICU (16% in wave 1 compared with 54% in wave 2) with a corresponding reduction in the use of advanced respiratory support (64% in wave 1, 36% in wave 2).
  • Mortality measured at 30-days after ICU admission was not significantly different between the two waves (38% in wave 1, 36% in wave 2).
  • There were 1,004 patients with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 disease admitted to HDUs. Of these, 791 were admitted in wave 2. In wave 2, 30-day mortality was lower in HDU patients compared with ICU patients (30% compared with 36%).
  • For ICU patients that survived to hospital discharge in wave 1, 15% had an emergency hospital readmission within 90 days of hospital discharge.

Background

The Scottish Intensive Care Society Audit Group (SICSAG) is the national adult critical care audit and quality assurance programme. It benefits from a close collaboration between the Scottish Intensive Care Society and Public Health Scotland. The audit has complete, national coverage of all admissions to intensive care units (ICUs) and combined critical care units in Scotland.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, SICSAG has transformed its systems to provide daily data to inform the response to the pandemic across Scotland. This report describes the admission frequency, demographics, activity and outcomes for patients with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 disease admitted to Scottish units. It includes admissions to adult ICUs, combined intensive care/high dependency units, and areas of hospitals which have been repurposed to provide intensive care. In this report, the term 'ICU' refers to these three types of facility. It also includes admissions to standalone adult high dependency units (HDUs), as well as areas of hospitals which have been repurposed to provide high dependency care. However, not all repurposed HDUs were able to contribute data to the audit. The report does not include admissions to paediatric/neonatal ICUs and HDUs.

This fifth report compares characteristics and outcomes for admissions between the first and second waves of the pandemic. Wave 1 is defined as 1 March 2020 to 31 July 2020 and wave 2 is defined as starting from 1 August 2020.

Further information

Further information is available from the SICSAG website (external website) and from the full report available at the top of this page.

The next release of this publication will be on an ad hoc basis.

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Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 13 June 2022
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