In correspondence to the Lancet yesterday, authors from the USA highlight concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic’s potential to lead to a shortage of ventilators and respiratory support for those patients requiring it. Their calculations project a shortfall of at least 45,341 mechanical ventilators (which breathe for the patient) and 77,289 non-invasive devices.
The authors urge a three-pronged approach to reducing the mismatch between available supply and patient need for respiratory support:
Strictly applied social distancing to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases
A nationalised allocation system to co-ordinate the likely regional variation in outbreak peaks
Urgent acquisition and production of more ventilators and respiratory devices.
Wells CR et. al. Projecting the demand for ventilators at the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in the USA. Lancet. :April 20, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30315-7
Written by Dr Rachel Coles, Education Fellow, on 21st April 2020.