A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation has found that secondary bacterial pneumonia is a major cause of death in COVID-19 patients who require ventilator assistance. The study, which was conducted by researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois, included 585 patients who were admitted to the intensive care unit at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Of the 585 patients, 190 had COVID-19.
The researchers found that 80% of the patients who required ventilator assistance also developed secondary bacterial pneumonia. Secondary bacterial pneumonia is a type of pneumonia that occurs when bacteria infect the lungs after a person has been sick with another illness, such as COVID-19. Secondary bacterial pneumonia is more likely to occur in people who have weakened immune systems. Symptoms of secondary bacterial pneumonia include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Secondary bacterial pneumonia is treated with antibiotics.
The researchers concluded that the findings of the study highlight the importance of preventing, detecting, and treating secondary bacterial pneumonia in patients with COVID-19 who require ventilator assistance. They also noted that the findings of the study do not diminish the health risks posed by COVID-19 itself, as patients who require a ventilator have already experienced respiratory problems caused by the virus.
The researchers also emphasized that early detection and treatment of secondary bacterial pneumonia is essential for improving the survival rate of COVID-19 patients who require ventilator assistance.