Oxygen Therapy

Some covid-19 patients don’t sense low oxygen level. A normal blood-oxygen saturation is at least 95%. Some doctors tell patients to monitor their oxygen saturation and visit the hospital if it drops to 93% or below. If it falls below, There are 4 stages of corona-virus oxygen treatments. 

1. Basic oxygen therapy

Patients with coronavirus who are breathless will struggle to get enough oxygen in their blood. So, the most basic form of treatment that can be done in a hospital is oxygen therapy. Patients wear a mask through which oxygen-enriched air passes to help them breathe.

2. Pressurised oxygen therapy 

The next step is to give patients a more intense form of oxygen therapy. They will remain conscious and will be equipped with an airtight mask, and oxygen-air gas will be under pressure. Doctors will also more closely monitor their vital signs.

3. Mechanical ventilation

If the patient still has difficulty breathing and does not receive enough oxygen in the blood, doctors will consider installing it in the intensive care unit. Mechanical ventilation is an invasive procedure that artificially pushes air into and out of the lungs. Patients undergo euthanasia – usually from the front to remove weight from the heart and lungs. A tube attached to the ventilator is inserted into the patient’s mouth or nose and down the breathing tube, and sometimes through a surgical hole in the neck. The main function of the ventilator is to pump or exhale oxygen into the lungs, which is called “oxygenation”. Fans also help in removing carbon dioxide from the lungs, and this is called “ventilation.” These machines, in fact, support the patient’s life and give his body time to fight the virus.

4. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)

In some patients, their lungs may become too damaged and inflamed for the mechanical ventilator to adequately receive enough oxygen into the bloodstream. If this happens, doctors may have to consider using an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) apparatus. But this is one of the most aggressive forms of life support, and it is always considered as the last resort for treating the respiratory tract. ECMO is similar to a heart and lung bypass device, used for open heart surgery, and bypasses the lungs, filling the blood with oxygen. They work by removing blood from the body and then pumping it through an artificial lung, known as an oxygenator. Then it saturates the blood with oxygen, removes carbon dioxide, and then heats it again and returns it to the patient. The prognosis for those who end up on an ECMO machine is by definition poor. This is because there are several known complications, such as the risk of infection, bleeding, cramps and possible serious neurological damage due to loss of blood supply. An unknown ECMO specialist told Telegraph: “The procedure itself is dangerous because you pass blood through a machine full of synthetic surfaces to which the blood usually reacts, and this can cause cell damage and an inflammatory response syndrome. “The machine also chews platelets, so there may be damage to red blood cells.”

The questions which are related to oxygen therapy would be: 

Is ECMO really the last oxygen therapy that can be done to a patient

Are there different ways that ECMO can be done to be safer?

Can all the hospitals provide all 4 ways of this therapy? 

How much does it cost?

Can it be done to all ages?

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