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BackgroundPatients with COVID-19-related acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) have been postulated to present with distinct respiratory subphenotypes. However, most phenotyping schema have been limited by sample size, disregard for temporal dynamics, and insufficient validation. We aimed to identify respiratory subphenotypes of COVID-19-related ARDS using unbiased data-driven approaches.MethodsPRoVENT-COVID was an investigator-initiated, national, multicentre, prospective, observational cohort study at 22 intensive care units (ICUs) in the Netherlands. Consecutive patients who had received invasive mechanical ventilation for COVID-19 (aged 18 years or older) served as the derivation cohort, and similar patients from two ICUs in the USA served as the replication cohorts. COVID-19 was confirmed by positive RT-PCR. We used latent class analysis to identify subphenotypes using clinically available respiratory data cross-sectionally at baseline, and longitudinally using 8-hourly data from the first 4 days of invasive ventilation. We used group-based trajectory modelling to evaluate trajectories of individual variables and to facilitate potential clinical translation. The PRoVENT-COVID study is registered with, NCT04346342.FindingsBetween March 1, 2020, and May 15, 2020, 1007 patients were admitted to participating ICUs in the Netherlands, and included in the derivation cohort. Data for 288 patients were included in replication cohort 1 and 326 in replication cohort 2. Cross-sectional latent class analysis did not identify any underlying subphenotypes. Longitudinal latent class analysis identified two distinct subphenotypes. Subphenotype 2 was characterised by higher mechanical power, minute ventilation, and ventilatory ratio over the first 4 days of invasive mechanical ventilation than subphenotype 1, but PaO2/FiO2, pH, and compliance of the respiratory system did not differ between the two subphenotypes. 185 (28%) of 671 patients with subphenotype 1 and 109 (32%) of 336 patients with subphenotype 2 had died at day 28 (p=0·10). However, patients with subphenotype 2 had fewer ventilator-free days at day 28 (median 0, IQR 0-15 vs 5, 0-17; p=0·016) and more frequent venous thrombotic events (109 [32%] of 336 patients vs 176 [26%] of 671 patients; p=0·048) compared with subphenotype 1. Group-based trajectory modelling revealed trajectories of ventilatory ratio and mechanical power with similar dynamics to those observed in latent class analysis-derived trajectory subphenotypes. The two trajectories were: a stable value for ventilatory ratio or mechanical power over the first 4 days of invasive mechanical ventilation (trajectory A) or an upward trajectory (trajectory B). However, upward trajectories were better independent prognosticators for 28-day mortality (OR 1·64, 95% CI 1·17-2·29 for ventilatory ratio; 1·82, 1·24-2·66 for mechanical power). The association between upward ventilatory ratio trajectories (trajectory B) and 28-day mortality was confirmed in the replication cohorts (OR 4·65, 95% CI 1·87-11·6 for ventilatory ratio in replication cohort 1; 1·89, 1·05-3·37 for ventilatory ratio in replication cohort 2).InterpretationAt baseline, COVID-19-related ARDS has no consistent respiratory subphenotype. Patients diverged from a fairly homogenous to a more heterogeneous population, with trajectories of ventilatory ratio and mechanical power being the most discriminatory. Modelling these parameters alone provided prognostic value for duration of mechanical ventilation and mortality.FundingAmsterdam UMC.

Original publication




Journal article


The Lancet. Respiratory medicine

Publication Date





1377 - 1386


Department of Intensive Care and Laboratory of Experimental Intensive Care and Anaesthesiology (L·E·I·C·A), Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Electronic address:


PRoVENT-COVID collaborative group, Humans, Respiration, Artificial, Prospective Studies, Cross-Sectional Studies, Aged, Middle Aged, Intensive Care Units, Netherlands, Female, Male, Respiratory Distress Syndrome, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2