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EMJ COVID-19 monthly top five
  1. Anisa Jabeen Nasir Jafar1,
  2. Daniel Darbyshire2,3,
  3. Gabrielle Prager4,
  4. Charlie Reynard5,
  5. Mina Peter Naguib6
  1. 1 HCRI, The University of Manchester Faculty of Biology Medicine and Health, Manchester, UK
  2. 2 Lancaster Medical School, Lancaster University, Lancaster, Lancashire, UK
  3. 3 Emergency Department, Salford Royal Hospitals NHS Trust, Salford, UK
  4. 4 Emergency Department, Royal Bolton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Bolton, UK
  5. 5 Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, The University of Manchester Faculty of Biology Medicine and Health, Manchester, UK
  6. 6 HCRI, Ellen Wilkinson Building, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Anisa Jabeen Nasir Jafar, HCRI, The University of Manchester Faculty of Biology Medicine and Health, Manchester M13 9PL, UK; anisa.jafar{at}

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Edited by Simon David Carley on behalf of the RCEM COVID-19 CPD team.

Following from the successful ‘RCEM weekly top five’ series starting in April 2020, this is the first of a monthly format for EMJ readers. We have undertaken a focused search of the PubMed literature using a standardised COVID-19 search string. Our search between 17th September and 31st October 2020 came up with 3841 papers limited to human subjects and English language.

Our team have narrowed down the most interesting, relevant and important of the papers, and provided a critical snapshot of five of those we felt most deserved EMJ reader attention. Importantly we have highlighted not only the main findings from the papers but key limitations and considerations for EM clinicians when interpreting the work. In doing so, we have created an accessible window into pertinent research findings for our busy colleagues during this fast-paced and ever-changing COVID-19 landscape.

The papers are ranked in one of three categories, allowing you to focus on the papers that are most vital to your practice:

  • Worth a peek—interesting, but not yet ready for prime time.

  • Head turner—new concepts.

  • Game changer—this paper could/should change practice.

This month’s searches were undertaken by the ‘RCEM weekly top five’ founders in Manchester and we look forward to next month’s instalment by our colleagues and neighbours in Salford.

Outcomes from intensive care in patients with COVID‐19: a systematic review and meta‐analysis of observational studies

Topic: outcome

Rating: worth a peek

Arguably the greatest anxiety around the COVID-19 pandemic was intensive care unit (ICU) capacity for the sickest patients. This welcome meta-analysis including 24 observational cohort studies across Asia (mostly China), 6 countries from Europe and North America looked at outcomes for 10 150 patients.1

Overall ICU mortality was 41.6% (95% CI, 34.0% to 49.7%) with the largest dataset (8826) coming from the UK’s Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre. There was a progressive reduction in mortality …

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  • Handling editor Ellen J Weber

  • Twitter @EMergeMedGlobal

  • Collaborators RCEM COVID-19 CPD team: Charles Reynard, Anisa Jabeen Nasir Jafar, Daniel Darbyshire, Gabrielle Prager, Govind Oliver, Simon David Carley.

  • Contributors AJNJ, GP, DD and CR conducted literature searches. AJNJ, GP, DD, CR and MPN wrote the text. All authors edited the final piece.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.