Generally speaking, 40% to 50% of patients with severe respiratory distress die while on ventilators, but 80% or more of coronavirus patients placed on the machines in New York City have died, state and city officials say.
Higher-than-normal death rates also have been reported elsewhere in the U.S., said Dr. Albert Rizzo, the American Lung Association’s chief medical officer.
Similar reports have emerged from China and the United Kingdom. One U.K. report put the figure at 66%. A very small study in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the disease first emerged, said 86% died.
Some health professionals have wondered whether ventilators might actually make matters worse in certain patients, perhaps by igniting or worsening a harmful immune system reaction.
That’s speculation. But experts do say ventilators can be damaging to a patient over time, as high-pressure oxygen is forced into the tiny air sacs in a patient’s lungs.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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