sobrevivendo ao ventilador pulmonar

More people with COVID are surviving the ventilator


Brazil sometimes compares itself to the US, and in one competition, these countries rank number one and two in the world. Unfortunately, both countries are failing the COVID challenge. This is sad because Brazil had a reputation as one of the countries best able to deal with epidemics. Now, despite this failing from both Brazil and the US, here is some information that is encouraging.

Infections rising, death rate falling

Even though, in both countries, the number of COVID cases is increasing, the number of people dying from COIVD is not increasing as rapidly. This is good news, but we have to wait a few weeks to see if this is really good news. This is because deaths from COVID “lag” behind the number of cases (people newly infected) by several weeks. When people first become infected, it takes about two weeks before a relatively small number get severely ill, and then an even smaller percentage die. 

There are several reasons why more people are surviving COVID. Part of the story is that there are more young people getting severely ill with COVID now, but fewer of these younger people progress to develop severe oxygen depletion requiring ventilators. Also, more people who require ventilators are surviving that experience.

Ventilators at the beginning of COVID

While survival rates vary amongst countries and hospitals, one thing that was common early in the COVID epidemic was that a large number of people put on ventilators died. One study from a large health system in New York showed that 88% of people who required ventilators early in the COVID experience died. More recent data, from a larger group of patients, showed the death rate at 36%. This is still high, but not as devastating as several months ago. Doctors attribute the increased survival to “prone positioning” of patients, use of anti-coagulants, and steroid medication such as dexamethasone. 

However, even though more people are surviving ventilators, people with COVID on ventilators often require being connected to those machines for many weeks. This is much longer than ventilators are typically needed for other serious illnesses. And doctors are finding that many people who survive the ventilator are left with perhaps permanent sequelae such as lung scarring, heart damage, and brain and neurological defects.

So while the ventilator survival rate is encouraging, COVID is still a horrific problem for a significant number of people, even some youngers ones. This means we all need to continue to follow the recommendations of social distancing (2 meters), avoid indoor spaces with people out of your household circle, use masks, and wash hands frequently. 

To find a doctor, of any specialty, anywhere in Brazil, check out our website:

See also in ProcuraMed:

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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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