German recommendations for critically ill patients with COVID‑19
Kluge, Stefan, et al.
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Since December 2019, a novel coronavirus (severe acute respiratory syndrome—coronavirus 2, SARS-CoV-2) has rapidly spread around the world resulting in an acute respiratory illness pandemic. The majority of patients presents with mild symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, about 5% become critically ill and require intensive care treatment. Acute hypoxemic failure with severe dyspnea and an increased respiratory rate (>30/min) usually leads to ICU admission. At that point, bilateral pulmonary infiltrates are typically seen. Patients often develop a severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). To date there is no specific treatment available—the main goal of supportive therapy is to ascertain adequate oxygenation. Early intubation and repeated prone positioning are key elements in treating hypoxemic COVID-19 patients. Strict adherence to basic infection control measures (including hand hygiene) and use of personal protection equipment (PPE) are essential in the care of patients. Procedures that lead to formation of aerosols should be avoided where possible and carried out with utmost precaution.