According to a study, coronavirus patients who have even a slight drop in oxygen levels have an increased risk of dying from the disease.
Current NHS guidelines assume that someone is in the healthy range when their blood oxygen levels are between 94 and 98 percent.
Under the current system, people with this disease will not receive oxygen unless their levels drop below the lower threshold.
However, researchers who examined 1,000 NHS Covid-19 hospital patients found that even small burglaries of one to two percent under 96 percent correlated with an "increased risk of death".
You have warned that the current guidelines may not be sensitive enough and may miss the chance to save lives.
Experts said UK households should keep an oximeter – which shows blood oxygen levels – in their home medicine cabinet to monitor their condition.
Experts said UK households should keep an oximeter – which shows blood oxygen levels – in their medicine cabinet at home
The death rate for Covid-19 patients depends on their blood oxygen levels. It has been shown that lower oxygen saturation within 30 days resulted in a higher mortality rate. Even in the “normal range” (94 to 98 percent according to the NHS), however, the death rate was higher
Blood oxygen content describes the amount of oxygen that circulates in the blood. The body needs oxygen to function, so falling is a problem.
The study, led by Matt Inada-Kim, an advisor to the NHS Foundation Trust at Hampshire Hospitals, looked at hundreds of thousands of people who called an ambulance between March 1 and July 31 this year.
It was refined to 1,080 with a confirmed Covid-19 diagnosis whose oxygen levels and outcome of her disease were available
All patients were taken by ambulance to either Basingstoke & North Hampshire Hospital or the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester.
NHS ENGLAND EXAMPLES HOME OXYGEN READING FOR COVID-19
According to the British Medical Journal (BMJ), NHS England may have bought around 200,000 pulse oximeters for a scheme to measure oxygen saturation at home.
Patients with Covid-19 who do not need immediate hospital treatment but are at high risk of developing serious symptoms, such as: For example, those over 65 years of age or with a chronic health condition need to have the equipment they can use at home to monitor when they deteriorate.
In most cases of pneumonia, shortness of breath is an early symptom of the disease and occurs before hypoxia – the condition
With Covid-19, however, hypoxia often comes first, which is referred to as "silent hypoxia". By the time they experience shortness of breath, patients can be extremely sick without even realizing it.
The pilot study is scheduled to be rolled out nationwide in the next six weeks.
It is led by Matthew Inada-Kim, National Clinical Director for Deterioration at NHS England and Acute and General Practitioner Advisor at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, whose study recently found that Covid-19 patients even had a slight drop in oxygen levels exhibit The "normal area" is threatened with death.
The Wessex local medical committees are expected to be one of the first areas in which home surveillance is conducted.
Nigel Watson, chairman of the board, told the BMJ that the evidence is now pretty strong that the risk of death rose to around 13 percent when oxygen saturation dropped to 93/94 percent. If it fell below that level, the risk would increase to around 28 percent.
The idea is to create "virtual Covid stations" of high-risk patients and monitor oxygen saturation by having patients take measurements and linking them to their health teams, Watson said.
"When it starts to drop, and especially when it climbs to 94 percent, you may take action, including admitting the patient to hospital."
Rob Barnett, chairman of the Liverpool Local Medical Committee, confirmed that health officials were working on "virtual Covid Wards" in his area.
He said, "If we monitor more patients in the community, we will know the tipping point for them to get to the hospital. This is probably sooner than we could if we weren't monitoring them at all."
But he said while early treatment is a benefit, it would mean more patients are in the hospital, adding an extra burden to the service.
Their vital signs were measured by the ambulance staff at the first point of contact when they got to the patient's home.
The results showed that "even slight deflections in oxygen saturation of one to two percent below 96 percent represent an increased risk of mortality".
The paper's authors wrote: “Even patients with 94 to 95 percent oxygen saturation, values considered to be within this normal range, had a significantly higher 30-day mortality rate (5.3 percent) than patients with a higher one Oxygen saturation than 95 percent (2.3 percent). "
This suggests that patients who are in the “normal range” actually have a higher risk of death.
The team added that some experts have argued that a reading indicating hospitalization uses a 92 percent cutoff.
However, according to this study, this would be missed by about a third of patients who experience adverse outcomes.
And the study found that oxygen saturation best predicts death or ICU admission – more so than age or pre-existing health problems.
The researchers said that Covid-19 patients may need a lower threshold for hospital transportation so they don't stay at home where they are at risk of getting sick.
"We have shown that even relatively minor disturbances in peripheral oxygen saturation are an early warning of possible deterioration," they said.
"Using oxygen saturation as an indicator of disease severity may therefore underestimate the risk of leaving patients at home after assessing the ambulance."
The study was pre-printed online, meaning it was not criticized by other scientists for looking for errors before it was included in a medical journal.
In most cases of pneumonia, shortness of breath is an early symptom of the disease and occurs before hypoxia – when the body is deprived of oxygen.
With Covid-19, however, hypoxia often comes first. When shortness of breath occurs, patients can be extremely sick without even realizing it.
This has been a challenge to treatment as doctors are used to checking for hypoxia when a patient first becomes short of breath.
Inada-Kim and colleagues said early detection of hypoxia is "critical" to preventing Covid-19 from becoming life-threatening.
It has resulted in home oxygen saturation calls using a pulse oximeter.
The devices, which cost around £ 30, cannot detect Covid-19. But it could help in detecting hypoxia.
The little device is attached to the finger and light beams measure the amount of oxygen in the blood and the heart rate.
"Pulse oximetry will be relatively cheap and readily available to the public," said Inada-Kim.
"(It) can be a relatively inexpensive tool … that may focus on those with significant comorbidities who are at higher risk (for severe Covid-19)."
Trisha Greenhalgh, professor of primary care at Oxford University, told The Telegraph, “Just like you have a thermometer at home, every family should have an oximeter as part of a first aid kit.
"It's the kind of device most people could learn in two minutes, but practice is important."
She described the study's results as "important" while adding that not only is absolute blood oxygen important, but also "its trajectory – how fast it falls".
NHS England is believed to have purchased 200,000 pulse oximeters for a program led by Mr Inada-Kim to assess the benefits of home use in people at risk for severe Covid-19, the British Medical Journal reported last week.
MailOnline contacted NHS England for comment.
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