VIDEO: Can ventilators be harmful to some patients? Recent deaths initiate a new debate

More than 80% of the COVID-19 patients placed on the machine have died.

While health officials across the globe struggle to get more ventilators, some doctors are stopping the use of the breathing machines. The reason being that some hospitals have reported high death rates for COVID-19 patients on ventilators, and the professionals are worrying that the machines could be harmful to certain patients.

As treatment and research are evolving every day, medical practitioners are still learning the best way to tackle the virus. Ventilators provide oxygen to patients whose lungs are failing. Death in patients needing the machine to help them breathe is pretty common.

Around 40% to 50% of patients with respiratory discomfort lost the battle of their lives, despite being on a ventilator. On the other hand, more than 80% of the COVID-19 patients placed on the machine have died.

Statistics like this have come around from many other countries. A small study in Wuhan, the Chinese city from where the virus originated, said 86% of people died while being on ventilators.

Outlook for COVID-19 patients on ventilators ‘grim’

The reason?

The reason behind this is still uncertain. Health professionals think that ventilators might make the situation worse in certain patients, maybe by triggering a harmful immune system reaction. However, experts also say that they can damage a patient’s health over time, as high-pressure oxygen is forced into tiny air sacs into the patient’s lungs.

Expert on respiratory treatment at Toronto General Hospital Dr. Eddy Fan said the dangers can be minimized by limiting the amount of pressure and size of breaths delivered by the machine.
But some doctors are trying to keep the patients off ventilators for as long as possible and using other techniques instead.

It is significant to mention here that ventilators are not therapeutic or a treatment. They are a supportive measure while doctors wait for a patient’s body to recover.

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