TABLE 1

Patient Characteristics at Baseline#

CharacteristicAll patients (N=200)Low dose Dexamethasone (N=102)High dose Dexamethasone (N=98)
Age – years
 Mean age – years64.3±14.364.8±14.163.9±14.5
 Distribution – no. (%)
  <5037 (18.5)18 (17.6)19 (19.4)
  50–7091 (45.5)46 (45.1)45 (45.9)
  >7072 (36.0)38 (37.3)34 (34.7)
Male sex – no. (%)123 (61.8)61 (60.4)62 (63.3)
Median weight (IQR) – Kg85.0 (74.0–95.5)84.0 (72.0–95.5)87.9 (79.6–95.7)
Median body-mass index (IQR)31.0 (27.1–34.1)29.8 (27.0–34.0)31.2 (27.8–34.2)
Coexisting condition – no. (%)
 Hypertension96 (48.0)49 (48.0)47 (48.0)
 Hyperlipidemia83 (39.8)44 (43.1)39 (39.8)
 Obesity (BMI≥30 Kg·m−2)106 (53.0)48 (47.1)58 (59.2)
 Diabetes38 (19.0)20 (19.6)18 (18.4)
 Chronic pulmonary disease14 (7.0)6 (5.9)8 (8.0)
 Asthma10 (5.0)7 (6.9)3 (3.1)
 Cardiovascular disease27 (13.5)15 (14.8)12 (12.2)
 History of cancer10 (5.0)6 (5.9)4 (4.1)
 Chronic kidney disease7 (3.5)4 (3.9)3 (3.1)
Previous medication use – no. (%)
 ACE inhibitors28 (14.0)13 (12.7)15 (15.3)
 Antihypertensive52 (26.1)25 (24.8)27 (27.6)
 Anticoagulants11 (5.5)7 (6.9)4 (4.1)
 Antiplatelet26 (13.0)14, 13.712 (12.2)
 Inhaled corticosteroids15 (7.5)9 (8.8)6 (6.1)
 Statins64 (32.0)32 (31.4)32 (32.7)
 Immunosuppressants4 (2.0)1 (1.0)3 (3.1)
 Insulin14 (7.0)8 (7.8)6 (6.1)
Median laboratory parameters (IQR)+
 Absolute Leukocytes count –– cells·mm−35210 (3975–6625)5190 (3980–6542)5290 (3960–7077)
 Absolute Lymphocyte count –– cells·mm−3860 (612–1080)905 (680– 1145)780 (507–1010)
 Lactate dehydrogenase –– U·L−1384 (284–509))357.00 (242–497)415 (310–535)
 D-dimer –– ng·mL−1742 (490–1181)664 (457– 1160)763 (499–1244)
 C-reactive protein –– mg·L−17.0 (2.9–11.3)6.1(2.8–9.6)8.3 (4.6– 12.9)
 Procalcitonin –– ng·mL−10.10 (0.06–0.16)0.09 (0.05–0.15)0.11 (0.07–0.17)
 Ferritin level –– ng·mL−1599 (284–1226)539 (293–1203)623 (269–1244)
 Interleukin-6, pg·mL−113.1 (6.8–25.1)14.5 (7.1–33.8)10.8 (6.4–21.6)
Symptoms –– no. (%)
 Dyspnea128 (64.0)61 (59.8)67 (68.4)
 Cough155 (77.5)84 (82.4)71 (72.4)
 Fever146 (73.0)76 (74.5)70 (71.0)
 Asthenia46 (23.0)21 (20.6)25 (25.5)
 Diarrhea40 (20.3)17 (16.8)32 (24.0)
Disease
 Median temperature (IQR) – °C36.6 (36.0–37.5)36.6 (36.0–37.5)36.6 (36.0–37.4)
 Median respiratory rate (IQR) – bpm16.0 (15.0–17.0)16.0 (15.0–18.5)16.0 (15.0–16.0)
 Median oxygen saturation (IQR) – %92.8 (90.3–94.0)93.0 (90.0–94.0)92.7 (90.0–94.0)
 Median PaCO2 on admission (IQR)34.0 (31.3–37.2)34.1 (31.9–37.4)34.0 (31.0–37.2)
 Median PaO2:FiO2 ratio (IQR)294.0 (264.9–317.7)295.2 (266.3–314.3)291.4 (262.9–321.1)
 Median days from symptom onset to randomisation (IQR)8 (7–10)8 (7–9)8 (7–10)
 Median days from Hospital admission to randomisation (IQR)0 (0–0)0 (0–0)0 (0–0)
 Type of oxygen therapy on randomisation –– no. (%)
  Nasal cannula150 (75.0)80 (79.2)70 (73.7)
  Simple mask46 (23.0)21 (20.8)25 (26.3)
 Median FiO2 on randomisation (IQR)0.28 (0.28–0.32)0.28 (0.28–0.32)0.28 (0.28–0.32)
 Median SpO2:FiO2 ratio on randomisation (IQR)339.3 (300.0–350.0)342.8 (302.3–350.0)335.7 (300.0–350.0)
Hospital medical treatments – no. (%)
 Remdesivir20 (10.0)11 (10.8)9 (9.2)
 Prophylactic anticoagulant dose140 (70.0)76 (74.5)64 (65.3)
 Intermediate anticoagulant dose53 (26.5)22 (21.6)31 (31.6)
 High anticoagulant dose28 (14.0)16 (15.7)12 (12.2)
 Tocilizumab24 (12.0)12 (11.8)12 (12.2)
 Antibiotics182 (91.0)95 (93.1)87 (88.8)

There was a significant difference in four laboratory parameters (Absolute Lymphocyte count, Lactate dehydrogenase, D-dimer, Procalcitonin) between patients in the low dose dexamethasone group and those in the high dexamethasone group. There were no significant differences between the groups in any other baseline characteristic.

#Plus-minus values are means±sd. Percentages may not total 100 because of rounding. Abbreviations: PaCO2: partial pressure of carbon dioxide; FiO2: fraction of inspired oxygen; SpO2:FiO2: oxygen saturation to the fraction of inspired oxygen ratio; PaO2:FiO2: partial pressure of arterial oxygen to the fraction of inspired oxygen ratio; °C: degrees Celsius; bpm: breaths per minute; %: percentage; IQR: interquartile range; ACE: angiotensin-converting enzyme;

The body-mass index (BMI) is the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the heigh in meters;

+Interleukin-6 levels were missing for 14 patients (6 patients in low dose dexamethasone group and 8 patients in high dose dexamethasone group).