COVID-19: Proper treatment for acute respiratory distress syndrome increases chances of survival

How should severe cases of COVID-19 be treated?

The majority of severe cases of COVID-19 that require ventilation seem to be managed by standardized treatment for lung failure. According to a recent study, such treatment massively reduces the mortality rate of sick people.

A recent study by the Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found that standard therapy for the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome achieved very good results in the medical care of severe COVID-19 cases. The results of the study were published in the American-language journal American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Experience from hospitals does not always lead to the best treatment

During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals around the world share experiences to improve care for affected patients. However, such empirical values ​​do not always reveal the best treatment strategies and can even lead to damage, the researchers report.

Severe cases of COVID-19 must be treated with a ventilator

Many people become seriously ill during the COVID-19 pandemic. These must then be treated in an intensive care unit with the help of a ventilator. The researchers were now trying to use standard therapies to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome to treat seriously ill COVID-19 sufferers.

66 people seriously affected by COVID-19 were examined

For the study, the recordings of 66 seriously ill patients with COVID-19 were evaluated. These people experienced respiratory failure and had to be connected to a ventilator. The researchers examined treatment options and recorded the reaction of those affected.

Severe cases of COVID-19 led to ARDS

The team found that the most severe cases of COVID-19 lead to a syndrome called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This life-threatening lung disease can be caused by a variety of pathogens.

Various effective therapies against ARDS already exist

"The good news is that we have been studying ARDS for over 50 years and have a number of effective, evidence-based therapies that can treat ARDS," said study author Dr. Hardin of Massachusetts General Hospital in a press release.

Sick people responded well to treatment

These therapies, which include, for example, prone ventilation, were used by the participants in the current study. As expected, the seriously ill people responded well to the treatment, the expert added.

Mortality rate decreased massively

It is important that the mortality rate among critically ill COVID-19 sufferers who were treated in this way was 16.7 percent. This rate was not nearly as high as the mortality rate reported by other hospitals. In addition, with a median follow-up of 34 days, 75.8 percent of the sick people who needed a ventilator were released from the intensive care unit.

More research is needed

On this basis, the researchers recommend using evidence-based ARDS treatments for people with acute respiratory distress syndrome as a result of COVID-19 disease and waiting for standardized clinical studies before considering new therapies. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • David R. Ziehr, Jehan Alladina, Camille R Petri, Jason H. Maley, Ari Moskowitz et al .: Respiratory Pathophysiology of Mechanically Ventilated Patients with COVID-19: A Cohort Study, in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (published April 29 .2020), American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
  • Study Reveals Most Critically Ill Patients with COVID-19 Survive with Standard Treatment, Massachusetts General Hospital (Published May 6, 2020), Massachusetts General Hospital

Video: Is it ARDS or not with COVID-19 (January 2022).