COVID and High Flow Oxygen Treatment

Traditional treatment protocol was to provide oxygen up to 10 liters a minute and after that intubate. But with the outbreak of Covid-19 ventilation was getting poor results. (Dr Kanna, COVID Nodal Officer)

Soon all the ventilators were used up quickly, and some new patients were left with only oxygen machines, so the doctors improvised by raising the limits as much as 60 liters a minute. (Dr. Noémie Zucman, Head of the Intensive Care Unit at Louis-Mourier Hospital, Paris)

To allow this oxygen masks were exchanged for nasal tubes called High Flow Nasal Oxygen (HFNO).

The survival rate is rising. Not only are we able to treat more people at a time but also the recovery time is significantly shorter. It is more simple, comfortable, and cheaper than other treatments and avoids additional risk of infection. (European Respiratory Journal)

Yes, some still need ventilators. HFNO is now a standard step between oxygen mask and ventilation. Of those patients experiencing respiratory distress that would have been prescribed intubation by traditional logic, now 73% are stabilized by raising oxygen levels, the remaining 27% do ultimately need ventilators. And currently we have enough of those to meet that need.

Hooray for the capacity to adapt!

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. These machines existed, the process existed, but the logic that we developed by studying and treating other illnesses limited us. The new reality caused doctors to develop a new logic and the resulting process is changing lives.

This should lead us to ask what logic is guiding our new year’s resolutions. What have you reinvented? Where have you changed perspective? What is working for you now that you never saw coming?

It’s time to pivot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.