PLAID CYMRU Leader Adam Price is urging the Labour Welsh Government to ‘move quickly, and independently if needs be’ in adopting an early intervention approach in response to growing evidence it could improve outcomes for COVID-19 patients.
Adam Price references ongoing research by the Aneurin Bevan Health Board into whether early intervention leads to better outcomes, adding that if the clinical evidence supports early treatment, then Wales needs to act quickly, and even independently if necessary, if there is no consensus yet among the other UK Chief Medical Officers.
Mr Price writes:
“Many COVID-19 patients seem to exhibit a form of what some have described as ‘happy hypoxia’ before they are hospitalised. Their lungs are not yet stiff or painful, and they may not even feel short of breath. But their oxygen levels are often already well below 90% saturation levels.”
“Hypoxia can lead to irreversible lung damage as patients try and compensate by breathing harder, again often without knowing that they are doing so.”
“It is this phenomenon that has led some to dub the novel Coronavirus a ‘silent killer’ as people do not realise how ill they are until too late.”
“A number of published studies from China and Italy have concluded that early treatment, before the onset of severe symptoms, may provide the best chance to lower mortality rates. Giving supplemental oxygen through a variety of non-invasive methods (for example CPAP) and even asking patients to sleep on their front seems to have good results if applied early.”
“The Aneurin Bevan study has involved looking at the case notes of a 100 people that were admitted to local hospitals with COVID-19. The focus of the study has been working out whether earlier intervention might lead to improved outcomes and what the implications might be for service delivery and/or communication with the public e.g. the initiation of CPAP at an early enough stage of the disease to prevent the need for mechanical ventilation.”
“If clinicians’ evidence from within the Welsh NHS now suggests we need to change our approach, then we must act quickly, and even independently if necessary, if there is no consensus yet among the other UK Chief Medical Officers.”