Sarah Constantin: Oxygen Supplementation 101

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New post by Sarah on oxygen supplementation. Excerpt:

COVID-19 causes shortness of breath and in severe cases requires artificial ventilation. There is a shortage of mechanical ventilators in hospitals, and a shortage of medical personnel to treat patients with severe COVID-19, so there’s widespread interest in contributing to open source ventilation projects. For these efforts to be effective, though, we need to understand what COVID-19 patients need in terms of ventilators and other supplemental oxygen sources.

COVID-19 Symptoms and Clinical Guidelines

Most patients who go to a hospital for COVID-19 have pneumonia or infection of the lungs, which is visible on a chest X-ray. A large fraction (41.3%) receive supplemental oxygen therapy; a smaller fraction (5%) needed to be admitted to the ICU, and 6.1% needed mechanical ventilation.[1]

ARDS Severe cases of COVID-19 result in developing Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). Fluid builds up in the lungs; the lungs may collapse; blood oxygen drops; and mechanical ventilation is required. Merely providing air with a higher oxygen content than room air isn’t enough; pressure needs to be administered to keep the alveoli open.