The Western Cape has shifted to using high-flow nasal oxygen treatment on COVID-19 patients after the first six patients placed on ventilators died at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town. The Times reports that lead of the provincial department of health Dr Keith Cloete explained the shift in strategy during a virtual press briefing.
Ventilators were used as one of the main treatments for critical care COVID-19 patients during the initial phases of the global pandemic, but the experience from Tygerberg Hospital prompted a rethink.
Cloete said 114 high care patients at Tygerberg, representing about 70% of high care patients at the hospital, were placed on high-flow nasal oxygen after meeting certain criteria for the treatment. He said that 70% of these people recovered from the disease.
“The experience of our team at Tygerberg was right at the beginning our first six COVID-19 patients that were admitted to critical care, all six were admitted for what is called early ventilation because at the time that was the recommended mode of treatment,” he said.
“What happened is all six of those patients died. At that time there was the first emerging studies of critical care success by using high flow nasal oxygen,” he said.
“So, the team at Tygerberg decided that the next seven patients that came in for critical care were placed on high-flow nasal oxygen. Six out of the seven recovered. That was a huge turnaround for the team at Tygerberg,” said Cloete.
He said the high-flow nasal oxygen treatment was so successful that they were considering moving patients from critical care and ICU wards to normal wards.Full report in The Times