Even some patients initially considered candidates for a lung transplant have managed to recover and return home without the need, said Dr. Tiago Noguchi Machuca, a lung transplant surgeon at the University of Florida.
He had treated patients on ventilators and ECMO machines – devices that infuse oxygen into the bloodstream and remove carbon dioxide – which were successful in making them stop breathing on their own. His team keeps these patients on ECMO machines, but is trying to remove them from ventilators to restore their breathing capacity, he said.
A patient was about to return home soon. “We brought him here with the real belief that he was going to need a transplant,” Dr Machuca said. “And he recovered.
Doctors do not yet know how long it will take patients to regain their pre-Covid strength and endurance. In the case of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome or ARDS, which has been caused by other viruses and has similarities to Covid-19, full recovery may take more than a year, but there is no statistics like this for Covid.
However, the sooner patients begin rehabilitation, the faster they start to bounce back, which may be another reason for doctors to remove them from the ventilator earlier, Ms. Al Chikhanie said. This may be possible, especially as scientists understand how to best manage the acute infection phase.
Doctors at Mount Sinai have found that Covid does not break down blood vessels in the lung, but dilates them, making blood flow too fast for oxygen to be absorbed, causing hypoxemia or low levels of oxygen in the lung. blood or hypoxemia. Dr Hooman Poor, pulmonologist and co-author of the Mt. Sinai article, said more research is needed to identify effective ways to reduce Covid-induced hypoxemia in patients.
Some people who have spent a long time in intensive care may recover, although they need a lot of help and persistence. “Stay active, move and walk around the house, up and down the stairs,” Ms. Al Chikhanie said.