Severely ill COVID-19 patients can survive with standard treatment, according to US study

May 12, 2020

American clinicians have noted that COVID-19 patients who require treatment for respiratory failure – they need ventilators in intensive care units – can get better after receiving existing guideline-supported treatment. Dr. C. Corey Hardin, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School, and investigators found that the most severe cases of COVID-19 resulted in syndrome called Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), a life-threatening lung condition. However, ARDS can be treated with “a number of effective evidence-based therapies” gleaned over the course of 50 years.

Dr. Hardin and his team carefully examined the records of 66 critically-ill patients with COVID-19 who experienced respiratory failure and were put on ventilators, making note of their responses to the care they received.

“We applied known treatments, including prone ventilation where patients are turned onto their stomachs, to patients in our study and they responded to them as we would expect patients with ARDS to respond,” Dr. Hardin said.

Fortunately, the death rate among patients treated this way (16.7%) was not nearly as high as has been reported by other hospitals in the US. In addition, over a median follow-up of 34 days, 75.8% of patients who were on ventilators were discharged from intensive care.

As such, clinicians are advised to “provide evidence-based ARDS treatments to patients with respiratory failure due to COVID-19” before contemplating novel therapies to combat the COVID-19 virus.

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Category: Education, Features

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