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Tags: Coronavirus | covid-19 | hospital | ventilator

Doctors Improve How They Treat COVID-19 Patients

a healthcare worker enters an icu unit to see a coronavirus patient
A healthcare worker enters an ICU unit in Richmond, Texas, where a coronavirus patient issuing treated. (MARK FELIX/AFP /AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 17 July 2020 11:04 AM

Medical experts have improved their treatment options caring for COVID-19 patients since the pandemic began. Early in the course of the disease, hospitals were overwhelmed with critically ill patients suffering with unfamiliar symptoms. Doctors were often unsure about how to care for them.

"It was very scary, just to give you the subjective feeling, of caring for patients and talking with patients and their families and a lot of the time saying, 'We don't know a lot about this disease. We don't know how you're going to do,'" said Dr. Armond Esmaili, a hospitalist at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, according to Axios.

Since then, physicians have learned new ways to reduce pain and suffering in COVID-19 patients and also how to reduce the number of deaths. In many cases, they've found that already established techniques are effective in treating the virus and are less invasive.

For example, doctors are now using high-powered oxygen instead of ventilators to help many patients breathe on their own.

According to Reuters, a New York study showed that 88% of 320 ventilated COVID-19 patients died.

Tried-and-true medications such as the steroid dexamethasone has reduced deaths by one-third among patients on ventilators and by one-fifth for those on oxygen.

Esmaili told Axios that giving patients the anti-viral drug remdesivir helps shorten their hospital stay. Remdesivir was granted an Emergency Use Authorization to treat severely ill patients by the Food and Drug Administration. Studies have shown that patients who are given the drug recover four days faster than those given a placebo.

Doctors have also learned to prescribe all COVID-19 patients medications to reduce the risk of blood clots, says Esmaili. Besides giving old drugs new purpose in the fight against the coronavirus, physicians have resorted to physical maneuvers to ease symptoms.

Flipping patients on their stomachs, for example, is a simple way to improve breathing in fluid-filled lungs. The maneuver called "proning" takes pressure off the lungs themselves. It's an old procedure that's gaining popularity for patients with respiratory distress from COVID-19, according to Business Insider.

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Medical experts have improved their treatment options caring for COVID-19 patients since the pandemic began.
covid-19, hospital, ventilator
Friday, 17 July 2020 11:04 AM
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