Ventilators have become the single most important piece of medical equipment for critically ill coronavirus patients whose damaged lungs prevent them from getting enough oxygen to vital organs.
It’s still not clear how lungs are affected by Covid-19, writes the New York Times.
NYT have very pedagogic animations on how the alveolar system works.
Health care providers have embraced a maneuver that has long been used for ventilated patients — periodically turning them on their stomach to increase lung capacity. Proning, as it’s called, opens up areas of the lungs that are normally compressed by the weight of the heart when lying on one’s back.
Non-coronavirus patients on ventilators have about a 50 percent survival rate. The mortality rate for coronavirus patients on ventilators is not yet clear — in part because, with no proven method of treatment for the virus, coronavirus patients are often being kept on these machines for weeks in order to keep them breathing long enough to give their lungs a chance to heal.