166: Clinical outcomes of critically ill covid-19 patients seen through tele-ICU services in Pakistan

Asad Latif, Syeda Asfia hussain, Huba Atiq, Mareeha Zaki, Hamza Khan, Kiran Sami, Fahham Asghar, Ammarah Ghayyas, Ali Azim Daudpota, Muhammad Sohaib Khan, Ali Asghar Ashraf, Muhammad Faisal Khan, Amber Sabeen, Muhammad Haroon Khan, Naveed Haroon Rashid, Hameed Ullah, Syed Kashif Amin, Adil H. Haider, Zainab Samad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: As the surge of COVID-19 continues, low resource settings such as Pakistan have encountered an acute shortage of ICU facilities and trained intensivists. The dearth of resources is apparent in the remote region of Northern Pakistan. Therefore, we established a tele-ICU consultation service model to address these concerns and leverage critical care capacity in these remote settings.Methodology: This study was conducted in Gilgit and Chitral secondary care hospital in Northern Pakistan. Gilgit is a 46-bedded hospital with 6 ventilators, and Chitral is a 25-bedded hospital with 3 ventilators in their ICU. The study duration is 1 year from July 2020 till June 2021. This is a centralised and decentralised hub-and-spoke tele-ICU model. The main hub is located in Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) in the metropolitan city Karachi. The distance from the main hub to the remote facilities is approximately 1800km. The tele-ICU followed a 24/7 Scheduled Care Model (periodic consultations on a predetermined time) and Responsive Care Model (unscheduled teleconsultations prompted by an alert) to provide care. The mode of communication is teleconference calls, video calls, and text messaging. This service is provided by 24/7 AKUH trained intensivists. Patient information such as demographics, clinical course, teleconsultation interventions, and management were obtained from these remote ICUs.Results: A total of 157 patients presented to the tele-ICU from Pakistan’s remote regions of Gilgit and Chitral. Of these, 60% were male (n=95). 86% (n=135) patients presented with COVID-19. 64% (n=97) patients had comorbidities with hypertension (47%, n=46) being the most common. Invasive mechanical ventilation was provided to 12% (n=18) of the tele-ICU patients, while 62% patients (n=98) received non-invasive mechanical ventilation interventions. Average length of stay of patients in the tele-ICU was 9 days with a range of 1-41 days. 72% (n=113) patients were discharged home from the hospital. Tele-ICU mortality was 29% (n=44).Conclusion: We utilized a peer-to-peer tele-consult model to support critical care services in Northern Pakistan. The survival rate achieved by this model is comparable to national and international hospital published data. This was possible through use of multimodal information technology in Pakistan.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalDepartment of Anaesthesia
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Cite this