Ventilator Use

May 26, 2020

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Anchor lead: What is the role of ventilators in managing severe COVID-19? Elizabeth Tracey reports

When it comes of managing people with severe COVID-19 disease, some clinicians are questioning the need for ventilators, citing low survival rates and lengthy hospitalization. Brian Garibaldi, a critical care medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, offers his opinion.

Garibaldi: At a fundamental level this disease causes ARDS, or acute respiratory distress syndrome. That’s a syndrome that’s been recognized for over fifty years. The only thing that’s really been shown to improve outcome is the way that you ventilate someone, using a low tidal volume ventilation strategy, and I think that we need to make sure that as we’re trying to gather more data about this disease, until we have data that says that that’s not the right way to ventilate these patients, I think we need to go with what twenty years, thirty years of data now has shown what has been effective with ARDS patients, that we know can save lives.  :30

Garibaldi says non-invasive strategies to provide more oxygen to people with severe COVID-19 are well worth trying, but that if ventilators are needed they should be employed. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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