COVID-19: Hypoxia, inflammation and immune response

Given the current pandemic of COVID-19, the International Hyperbaric Medicine and Research Association (Ihmera) shares “COVID-19: Hypoxia, inflammation and immune response“, a document that develops the potential role of HyperbaricOxygen Therapy.

The most recent reports on COVID-19 showed that the clinical manifestations of the infection are fever, cough, and dyspnea with radiological evidence of viral pneumonia. Approximately 15 to 30% of patients develop acute respiratory distress syndrome(ARDS).

According to the WHO, the guidelines of general recommendations for the treatment of ARDS include the management of patients with refractory respiratory hypoxemia, for whom extracorporeal oxygenation membranes are suggested as a therapeutic resource.

The virus can cause death through progressive hypoxemic respiratory failure, multi-organ refractory failure, or complications such as ischemic heart failure. However, the need for extracorporeal oxygenation membranes is a complicated decision when the resource is limited to the high demand for this highly transmissible pandemic.

Given the emergency of patients with COVID-19 and the limited resources of extracorporeal oxygenation, the provision of a hyperbaric chamber for infected patients with respiratory hypoxemic failure could be used in cases that do not present pulmonary contraindications. Thus, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can contribute to recovering the acute hypoxic phase of the disease, reducing the inflammatory phase, promoting recovery and perhaps accelerating the times for the release of beds required to assist these patients during the pandemic.

Additional studies are needed and these hyperbaric chambers must be operated by qualified medical professionals who can carry out rigorous and reliable control of the need for other additional therapeutic requirements during the progression of the disease.

Read the full document here: