Explained: Will COVID-19 patients always show symptoms when their oxygen levels drop?
New Delhi, Apr 21: The ongoing second wave of the novel coronavirus cases has seen a huge rise in the demand for supplemental oxygen. But, one might wonder What makes the gas so vital in COVID-19 management?
When does a coronavirus patient need oxygen support?
According to reports, a small proportion of COVID-19 patients need oxygen support, when shortness of breath progresses to a more acute condition. Most patients with COVID-19 have a respiratory tract infection, and in the most severe cases their symptoms can include shortness of breath.
How COVID-19 patient triggers shortness of breath?
Shortness of breath occurs by the way COVID-19 affects the patient's respiratory system. The lungs enable the body to absorb oxygen from the air and expel carbon dioxide. When a person inhales, the tiny air sacs in the lungs expand to capture this oxygen, which is then transferred to blood vessels and transported through the rest of the body.
According to a data with the National Clinical Registry for COVID-19 shows a new emerging trend during the second wave. Shortness of breath is the most common clinical feature among symptomatic hospitalised patients at 47.5 per cent, compared to 41.7 per cent during the first wave.
How many COVID-19 patients now require oxygen?
As of Tuesday, 1.75 per cent of the patients were in ICU beds, 0.40 per cent were on ventilator, and 4.03 per cent were occupying oxygen beds. Since the total active cases have now risen to 20,31,977, the number of patients requiring oxygen beds is significant.
When can oxygen be used in COVID-19 clinical management?
In moderate cases, oxygen therapy is the primary form of treatment. The target is to achieve 92-96 per cent SpO2, or 88-92 per cent in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The devices for administering oxygen in moderate disease are nasal prongs, masks, or masks with breathing/non-rebreathing reservoir bags, depending on requirement.