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The need for oxygen in critically ill COVID-19 patients may be lower than previously assumed

The need for oxygen in critically ill COVID-19 patients may be lower than previously assumed

– January 26, 2022

A new study by researchers at Uppsala University indicates that the need for oxygen for critically ill COVID-19 patients is lower than previously expected. Anna Hvarvner, a former AT physician at Malung Health Center and an ST physician at Mora Medical Clinic, is one of those who took part in the study.

Oxygen is a cheap and lifesaving treatment for COVID-19. However, oxygen is a scarce resource in many low- and middle-income countries, and during the height of the epidemic, severe hypoxia was also reported from rich countries. Unfortunately, many deaths occur due to lack of oxygen.

Now, researchers from Uppsala University have conducted a study on the use of oxygen in connection with the treatment of COVID-19. The aim of the study was to calculate the amount of oxygen needed by severely ill COVID-19 patients. One of those who conducted the study was Anna Hvarfner, who is now an assistant physician at the Surgery Clinic in Vastmanland but previously provided AT and ST service in Dalarna.
The lack of oxygen has affected hospitals around the world during the pandemic, with dire consequences. However, studies examining how much oxygen a COVID-19 patient needs have been completely lacking before planning for how the oxygen will be distributed, says Anna Hvarfner.

The study concluded that the oxygen need for patients with severe COVID-19 infection may be lower than previously expected.

In our research, we saw that the average flow of oxygen to patients was 3 L/min, which is lower than the WHO estimate of 10 L/min for critically ill COVID-19 patients.

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The group of patients studied was similar to the other patient groups studied during the first wave of the epidemic in the United States, Europe and China in terms of gender, age and body mass index. The need for oxygen was examined in all patients who had oxygen that made them need oxygen, but not a ventilator.

The results should be interpreted with caution because the study is small, but we hope it will contribute to further studies on the oxygen demand of COVID-19 patients. Our goal is for this to serve as a basis for planning good capacity for the vital resource oxygen, says Anna Hvarfner.

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