COVID-19: Respiratory Failure


A series of brief video presentations that focus on the rapid assessment and management of the patient in Respiratory Failure. These lectures build on one another, so we recommend watching in the order below.

COVID-19 patients can develop rapid, severe hypoxic respiratory failure. In treating these patients, use caution when using nebulizers and higher oxygen flows as they can generate aerosols. There is also some movement toward proning non-intubated patients to help with oxygenation; defer to your institution’s guidelines for these less traditional techniques.

Unconscious Patient (9 mins): Review an efficient general approach to manage all patients with respiratory failure with a focus on patients with altered mental status.

Awake with Refractory Hypoxemia (10 mins): Identify and manage acute hypoxemia that is refractory to oxygen supplementation alone and narrow your differential for hypoxemia using clinical information.

Awake with Increased Work of Breathing (7 mins): Assess and manage those patients without refractory hypoxemia who are still in respiratory distress.

BiPAP (9 mins): Review of BiPAP indications and contraindications. Some institutions are discouraging its use in COVID-19 patients, as it generates aerosols; follow your institution’s guidelines.

UPMC Critical Care Basics: An Education Tool for Non-intensivists

Mechanical Ventilation

Supplemental References

Ou et al 2017
Esteban et al 2004