COVID-19 patients must be treated with differentiated therapies: Chinese expert
Chinese medical experts have emphasized using different therapies to treat patients with different symptoms of the novel coronavirus disease.
"Patients with mild symptoms should be subject to centralized quarantine, have their vital signs monitored, and be transferred to designated hospitals if their symptoms deteriorate," said Wang Guiqiang, an infectious disease expert with the Peking University First Hospital, at a press conference in Beijing.
Severely and critically ill patients must receive treatment at designated hospitals because the mortality rate among these patients is relatively high, and the disease progresses rapidly, the expert said.
"Patients with different symptoms must be treated in different facilities," Wang said. "Otherwise, much of the medical resources such as hospital beds will be used by mild cases, leaving severe and critical cases that are in greater need of proactive treatment unattended. This will lead to a higher mortality rate."
He also underlined the use of comprehensive therapies, including oxygen therapy, respiratory support and taking care of vital organs.
Oxygen therapy must be applied to every COVID-19 patient, and respiratory support is very important for treating severe cases, Wang said, adding that respiratory support ranges from the use of oxygen masks, ventilators to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machines.
"When a patient becomes severely ill, oxygen therapy is not enough," he said, noting that the patient needs to have his or her airway cleared of sputum and use a ventilator.
Wang also emphasized taking care of vital organs while treating COVID-19, given that many patients died from underlying health conditions, which became fatal due to hypoxemia.
Wang said Chinese medical staff have paid great attention to treating underlying health issues alongside the treatment of COVID-19, noting that multidisciplinary medical teams have been sent to the outbreak epicenter of Wuhan.
"Proactive treatment have been applied to patients to support and maintain their vital organs, including livers, kidneys and hearts," he said.
The multidisciplinary treatment has yielded good results in Wuhan, with the mortality rate significantly dropping, Wang added.