More Surfactant Dosing May Help COVID-19 Patients on Ventilators

(Reuters) – A new study considers why COVID-19 patients on mechanical ventilators have trouble breathing and how refining a common treatment could help save lives.

The study, published this month in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, shows for the first time that COVID-19 patients on ventilators have less surfactant in their lungs than healthy people.

When researchers treated 10 adult patients with the same artificial surfactant used in preterm babies, the benefit of treatment wore off very quickly and patients needed repeat doses far more often than expected.

SARS-CoV-2 infects and kills the lung cells that produce surfactant, but these cells will recover in time once the infection is over, the researchers said. The new findings suggest that in the meantime, “multiple surfactant doses over a number of days will be required … until the lungs start to make their own surfactant.”

SOURCE: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, online December 7, 2021.

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