Amid a surge of Coronavirus cases in Karnataka, the state health department has recognized that unnecessary excessive oxygen therapy is being administered to patients, compelling it to issue guidelines on the use of the gas, an official said on Saturday.
In the event of oxygen saturation level being greater than or equal to 94 percent in a COVID patient, the guidelines suggest no oxygen therapy but monitoring of vitals while regular treatment protocol is continued.
“There is a non-judicious and excessive use of oxygen therapy being done without proper monitoring that is leading to its shortage, besides its waste and loss of money,” said Additional Chief Secretary Jawaid Akhtar citing a study by the Clinical Expert Committee (CEC), which then issued the guidelines.
Likewise, unregulated oxygen use has also led to an unprecedented surge in demand for the gas to treat Covid-19 patients.
“All the health institutions and doctors are advised to strictly adhere to the recommended protocol,” pointed out Akhtar. Incidentally, excess oxygen generation results in pulmonary oxygen toxicity. Free radicals generated in such a condition will damage the lung tissue.
“Clinical oxygen toxicity is manifested in several ways. Normal subjects experience a decrease in vital capacity and a fall in DICO. Lung compliance is diminished. Tracheobronchitis, which produces substernal chest pain, may also occur,” said the guidelines.
Recently, two hospitals were compelled to shift patients at midnight because of oxygen supply disruption — Kempe Gowda Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) and C.V. Raman Hospital in Indiranagar.
Because of the unexpected disruption, C.V. Raman Hospital shifted 17 COVID patients to other hospitals around midnight.
With 7,571 more infections on Friday, the statewide COVID tally rose to 2.64 lakh cases in the southern state.