Several intensive-care units (ICUs) in Wuhan are nonstandard wards that were repurposed from general wards. Considering the shortage of medical resources and the need to prevent nosocomic infection, the respiratory-treatment strategy in these nonstandard ICUs is different from those in general wards and standard ICUs. High-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) plays an important role in nonstandard ICUs and is beneficial to the patients therein.
In this study, we analyzed four cases of HFNC-treated patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a makeshift ICU and summarized our experience.
Four patients diagnosed with COVID-19 according to World Health Organization (WHO) interim guidance were admitted to the makeshift ICU.
All patients had oxygen treatment with HFNC, as well as regular treatment of antivirals and traditional Chinese medicine.
Two patients survived after treatment, while the other two died from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and heart failure, respectively.
Patients with severe and critical COVID-19 often have poor prognoses after mechanical ventilation, exhibiting corresponding complications such as ventilator-associated pneumonia and deep-vein thrombosis, which significantly prolongs length of stay in the ICU. HFNC could prevent intubation in some patients, thereby avoiding the above complications; however, this needs confirmation in further clinical studies. This treatment reduced difficulty and workloads for healthcare professionals, had good tolerability for patients, might not significantly increase the risk of infection for healthcare professionals, and do not require additional preventive measures against nosocomic infection. HFNC treatment has its advantages in providing oxygen therapy in COVID-19, but healthcare professionals should still pay close attention to changes in patients’ oxygenation rates and respiratory frequency.