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COVID-19: New Oxygenation and Ventilation Management Toolkit for HCPs


The American Heart Association released 4 training modules that offer guidance as more physicians are helping outside of their expertise.

As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues in the US, health care providers are being called up on to work outside their area of expertise-particularly in the intensive care unit (ICU) with severely ill patients who require ventilators.

That is why the American Heart Association (AHA), in conjunction with the American Association of Respiratory Care and the American Society of Anesthesiologists, released 4 training modules to teach health care professionals about the basics of oxygenation and ventilation management for patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

 “Given that COVID-19 patients will have respiratory issues and even respiratory failure, the American Heart Association felt it was important to bring all health care professionals the opportunity to quickly learn the basics of oxygenation and ventilation management and to be able to access this information when they most need it,” said Comilla Sasson, MD, PhD, vice-president for emergency cardiovascular care science and innovation at the AHA in a press release.

The training modules were published on the AHA’s CPR and First Aid website on April 3, 2020.

Module 1 (Non-invasive Support Overview)

The first module provides training for non-ICU health care providers treating patients requiring ventilation assistance who are under investigation or have confirmed cases of COVID-19. Content includes:

  • Risk mitigation for frequently used ventilation assistance devices such as noninvasive ventilation (NIV) and high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC).
  • A brief overview of the benefits and functionality of NIV and HFNC.
Module 2 (Airway Management)

The second module is to help make physicians aware of airway management items that may be different in patients who are under investigation for or have confirmed COVID-19. Content includes:

  • A review of criteria of when to intubate and of the inventory of items needed to correctly perform intubation.
  • A discussion of risk mitigation techniques specific to COVID-19 used to protect health care physicians.
  • A review of manual ventilation devices and filter placement.
Module 3 (Ventilation Equipment)

Module 3 gives an overview of equipment types, settings, and adjustments of ventilators; key terminology related to oxygenation and ventilation; and crucial numbers and ranges and alarms for ventilation management.

Module 4 (Ventilation Management)

The final module has information about invasive ventilation and management of COVID-19 patients. Topics include when to use invasive ventilation, analgosedation, tables and goals for therapy, and treatment recommendations for refractory hypoxemia.

The AHA still advocates that advanced airways be inserted and managed by the most experienced members of the clinical care team. The new training modules provide important information for the team members helping to support the ongoing ventilation management of COVID-19 patients.

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