Ventilator use for COVID-19 patients continues to decline in Louisiana

Photo credit zilli/Getty Images

The state health department says ICU doctors should receive praise for helping to lower the number of COVID-19 patients who need ventilators. On April 4th, the state reported 571 of their COVID-19 patients needed ventilators, now that number is below 363.

“The ICU teams here, they’re getting patients off the ventilator at a much higher rate than we’ve heard colleagues around the country,” said Assistant State Health Officer Joe Kanter.

Kanter says the mortality rate for someone placed on a ventilator in Louisiana is between 40 and 60-percent, while New York and Seattle are over 80-percent. He says are I-C-U doctors have learned how to better treat the disease.

“And they now know they want to keep these patients relatively dry, use dietetics, do not pump them with fluids,” said Kanter.

Kanter says critical care specialists are also finding success in having sickest coronavirus patients lay on their stomach because it helps to increase the amount of oxygen into their lungs.

“They do better when they are prone for the first few days while they are on the ventilator and this is something that was learned initially in treating these Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome patients or ARDS, they are just borrowing that playbook and it’s working well,” said Kanter.

He says it takes a sophisticated ICU team to pull it off to prevent sores and prevent injury to their head and neck. He says they are not sure if this method works with patients before they go on the ventilator.