Amy L. Bellinghausen, Robert L. Owens: Recovering from COVID ARDS and post-intensive care syndrome, in: The Lancet. Respiratory Medicine vol. 10 (15. Juli 2022) issue 10, pp. 932-933, online in: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(22)00265-X.
In their article, the two authors focus on Beatrice Garcia Diaz, who suffered from a lung disease due to SARS-CoV-2 and whose recovery was extremely difficult. Garcia Diaz developed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and later struggled with the consequences of the intensive life support treatment required. She was initially hospitalized for pneumonia and respiratory failure and received non-invasive positive pressure ventilation. Beginning on the tenth day of her hospitalization, she was intubated. Due to deteriorating oxygen levels in her blood (hypoxaemia), she required venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV-ECMO) twice, during which her lung function was taken over by a machine. She also required a tracheotomy and a feeding tube during the course of her treatment. In addition, she suffered an ischaemic stroke, experienced intracerebral haemorrhages and had to cope with massive weight loss. After being released from the ICU, she spent four more weeks in a long-term acute care hospital and, when she was finally home, suffered from post-intensive care syndrome (PICS). A year and a half later, her situation has improved. However, Garcia Diaz is still debilitated and reliant on oxygen if she exerts herself too much. In addition, she suffers from the psychological stress caused by intensive care. The authors see a need for education of patients and their relatives as well as of the treating physicians and therapists regarding diganosis and the therapy of long-term consequences of intensive care. At least in the major medical centers, recovery clinics for intensive care patients are being established worldwide.