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New Research Seeks to Identify the Factors that Determine Oxygen Therapy of COVID-19 Patients

Treating COVID-19 patients with oxygen therapy can be important because the disease is primarily a respiratory illness. Improvements in oxygen therapy mean better morbidity and mortality outcomes. A new research study has been launched by experts at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) and University of Warwick, supported by the Health Foundation, UK. It will find factors that influence how well oxygen is used across hospital wards where treatments take place. Evidence in other medical conditions shows that over-oxygenation can have negative health outcomes. Furthermore, this over-use would reduce the amount available for treating other patients.

“…It is important to understand and optimise practices, including prescribing of oxygen, for Covid-19 patients, in order to improve outcomes for hospitalised patients...”

Professor Alice Turner – Respiratory Medicine, UHB Trusts.

Optimal use of oxygen is vital for treating COVID-19 patients, most of whom can be managed in normal wards, as well as the minority that progress to intensive care units. Professor Alice Turner (UHB) who is co-lead on the project said: “Oxygen is a drug, and optimising prescribing is critical in a range of medical conditions, of which Covid-19 may be one…

Data collected from four hospitals in the trust will be analysed to describe patients receiving oxygen therapy and assess how well it is prescribed. The results of our study will enable better understanding of staff-patient dynamic in hospital environments where considerable pressure is being experienced on a daily basis. Specifically, recommendations will be made to the Health Foundation concerning potential behavioural interventions. The aim is to improve treatment and to reduce mortality rates and morbidity related disease complications in the fight against the pandemic. Future behavioural interventions based on the current study will likely involve changes to hospital environments that guide cost-effective use of oxygen and improves health outcomes for a sustainable health system.

This research is supported by the national Health Foundation, UK, University of Warwick and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. Project PI, Prof Ivo Vlaev, and a number of researchers are supported by NIHR ARC West Midlands.

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