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Severe Covid-19

  • David A. Berlin, M.D., Roy M. Gulick, M.D., M.P.H., and Fernando J. Martinez, M.D.


Evaluation and Management of Severe Covid-19

  • Patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) may become critically ill with acute respiratory distress syndrome that typically begins approximately 1 week after the onset of symptoms.

  • Deciding when a patient with severe Covid-19 should receive endotracheal intubation is an essential component of care.

  • After intubation, patients should receive lung-protective ventilation with plateau pressure less than or equal to 30 cm of water and with tidal volumes based on the patient’s height.

  • Prone positioning is a potential treatment strategy for refractory hypoxemia.

  • Thrombosis and renal failure are well-recognized complications of severe Covid-19.

  • Data are needed from randomized trials to inform the benefits and risks of antiviral or immunomodulatory therapies for severe Covid-19; as of mid-May 2020, no agents had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of these patients.

  • Preliminary data from a randomized, placebo-controlled trial involving patients with severe Covid-19 suggest that the investigational antiviral remdesivir shortens time to recovery.

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