As talk around accessibility to ventilators continues, the best practice for using ventilators — namely, when to put someone on one — has become a debated topic.
WEDNESDAY, April 15, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Mechanical ventilators have become a symbol of the COVID-19 pandemic, representing the last best hope to survive for people who can no longer draw a life-sustaining breath.
But the ventilator also marks a crisis point in a patient's COVID-19 course, and questions are now being raised as to whether the machines can cause harm, too.
Many who go on a ventilator die, and those who survive likely will face ongoing breathing problems caused by either the machine or the damage done by the virus.
The problem is that the longer people are on ventilation, the more likely they are to suffer complications related to machine-assisted breathing.
Recognizing this, some intensive care units have started to delay putting a COVID-19 patient on a ventilator to the last possible moment, when it is truly a life-or-death decision, said Dr. Udit Chaddha, an interventional pulmonologist with Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.