ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— The CDC reports that COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in 2020, after heart disease and cancer. In the U.S. alone about 600,000 have died from the disease. Researchers say they’ve learned lessons and gained valuable information from studying responses in the ICU.
In the first days of the pandemic, critical care specialists nationwide quickly put struggling patients on ventilators to improve their airflow and searched for any available treatment. Eduardo Oliveira, MD, Director of Critical Care AdventHealth Orlando, and colleagues studied data from 1,300 COVID patients admitted to the ICU and focused on the most critical 350 to determine what worked.
“Best practices that we felt really made a difference in patient care were practices related to mechanical ventilation, minimizing harm, providing them with lower volumes of air as we are ventilating them,” explained Dr. Oliveira.
Dr. Oliveira also says the practice of proning a patient worked, placing them face down instead of face up, allowing the lungs to function more efficiently.
“It’s not a drug, it’s not a specific medication that we are giving that saves lives, it is the process,” continued Dr. Oliveira.
Most of the 350 patients in the Central Florida study were on mechanical ventilation. Dr. Oliveira says 70 percent survived, higher than other international studies, which report an average of 50 percent survival.
“I am certain we are going to face similar situations in the future and the learnings from this pandemic will be key on how we treat them effectively from day one,” said Dr. Oliveira.
Dr. Oliveira says having adequate well-trained staff also made a positive difference in outcomes. For example, he says it takes up to eight healthcare providers to put one patient safely in a prone position. The study was just published in the science and medicine research journal, PLOS One.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Jenna Ehrlich, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer and Editor.
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TOPIC: COVID IN THE ICU: OLD PRACTICES, INCREASED BENEFITS?
REPORT: MB #4929
BACKGROUND OF COVID-19: Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can infect people and many animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. There are many types of coronaviruses, including some that give people a common head or chest cold while other coronavirus diseases like severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome or MERS are extremely dangerous but are much less widespread than colds and COVID-19. COVID-19 most often causes respiratory symptoms that can feel much like a cold, a flu, or pneumonia, but COVID-19 can also harm other parts of the body.
Most people who catch COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people become severely ill.
Older adults and people who have certain medical conditions are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
DIAGNOSING COVID-19: COVID-19 tests can test for current infection or past infection. A viral test will tell whether someone currently has the infection. The two types of viral tests are nucleic acid amplification tests, NAATs, and antigen tests. An antibody test could reveal if a person has had a past coronavirus infection; however these tests should not be used to diagnose a current infection. Fully vaccinated people with no COVID-19 symptoms do not need to be tested following an exposure to someone with COVID-19. The CDC recommends that anyone with any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 get tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection. If someone gets tested because they have symptoms or were potentially exposed to the virus, they should stay away from others pending test results and follow the advice of your health care provider or a public health professional.
NEW STUDY ON COVID-19 TREATMENTS: The ACTIV-2 study is testing different investigational treatments. Participants are assigned an investigational treatment or placebo will not be able to choose which one you are given. The two treatments are Biosciences and AstraZeneca. For the Biosciences patients will be given as 2 infusions, one right after the other, for a total of about 60 minutes. An infusion means the treatment is given slowly through a thin tube attached to small needle in your arm. For the AstraZeneca patients will receive 2 injections, one in each thigh. The injections are given one right after the other.
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