Even some patients who were originally considered candidates for a lung transplant were able to recover and go home without the need for one, Drs. Tiago Noguchi Machuca, a lung transplant surgeon at the University of Florida.
He treated patients with ECMO fans and machines – devices that put oxygen in the bloodstream and removed carbon dioxide – which was able to remove life support and breathing on their own. His team keeps such patients in ECMO machines, but tries to remove them from ventilators to restore their breathing capacities, he said.
A patient is about to return home. “We brought him here really thinking he was going to need a transplant,”; said Dr. Machuca. “And he was healed.”
Doctors do not yet know how long it will take patients to regain their strength and endurance before Covid. In the case of acute respiratory depression syndrome or ARDS, caused by other viruses and similar to Covid-19, full recovery may take more than a year, but there are no statistics for Covid.
However, the earlier patients begin their rehabilitation, the faster they recover, which may be another reason for doctors to remove them early on ventilators, Ms. Al Chikhanie. That may be possible, especially since scientists understand how to better manage the stage of acute infection.
Doctors at Mount Sinai discovered that Covid does not damage the blood vessels in the lungs but expands it, making blood flow too fast to absorb oxygen, which causes hypoxemia or low blood oxygen levels or hypoxemia. Dr. Hooman Poor, a pulmonologist and co-author of Mt. The Sinai paper writes that more research is needed to identify effective ways to reduce Covid-induced hypoxemia in patients.
Some people who spend a lot of time in life support can recover, even if they will need a lot of help and perseverance. “Stay active, move and walk around the house, up and down the stairs,” Ms. Al Chikhanie.