May 11, 2020
COVID-19 presents different symptoms already known as fever, tiredness, and dry cough. However, there have been recently cases that have impacted the medical community. These are patients who come to care services with “silent hypoxia”.
Patients do not realize that they have a lack of oxygen because they not have great respiratory difficulties. When the exams are done, it is found that their condition is much worse than expected. These patients who should be critical can carry out activities such as talking, using their cell phones, etc.
The new symptom of the disease has surprised health professionals who have observed how some patients arrive with oxygen levels at 50% and despite this are fully active. Most of these patients have symptoms of COVID-19 for 2 to 7 days. They only seek medical attention when they already have significant problems with deep breathing. The results of the CT reveal a dangerous general state and hypoxia in the lungs and even in other organs.
Why does silent hypoxia occur?
The body adapts to lower levels of oxygen. The consequence in some cases is decompensation that produces pulmonary and / or cerebral edema. As COVID-19 infected patients are fighting other symptoms such as diarrhea or fever, the body tries to compensate by speeding up breathing. Many people do not realize this change and therefore do not go to the doctor. When they recognize their condition and go to the clinic or hospital, the lungs are greatly affected.
Some specialists consider that silent hypoxia can be one of the causes of death of patients without complications or without pre-existing diseases.
Why does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy end hypoxia?
Hyperbaric oxygen generates hyperoxia and improves the oxygen saturation levels that are measured with the digital saturator. It provides amounts of oxygen that cannot be measured with the heart rate monitor. This means that it has a direct effect on silent hypoxia since it increases 10 times the oxygen level in the blood. By applying a higher pressure of oxygen, its diffusion through the lung is also favored.
It is important to note that pulmonary hypoxia contributes to infection in COVID-19 since it alters the mediators of inflammation.
The incorporation of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in the silent hypoxia stage could be an important tool to prevent the development of abrupt complications due to the chronic lack of oxygen that goes unnoticed in many of those infected with COVID-19.