Delayed Recovery of Consciousness Is Common for COVID Patients on Respirators

March 15, 2022

Most COVID patients who are put on ventilators regain consciousness after the removal of respiratory support and sedation, but some patients may take weeks to regain consciousness, according to a new multicenter study. The study also found that patients took longer to recover consciousness the more they experienced episodes of low blood oxygen levels during treatment.

The findings should inform decisions about life-sustaining therapies for unresponsive COVID patients.

“In critical care medicine, one of our main tasks is to advise families about planning in the event a patient does not regain consciousness,” says Jan Claassen, MD, a co-leader of the study, associate professor of neurology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Surgeons and Physicians, and associate attending neurologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “Our findings suggest that for patients with severe COVID, the decision to withdraw life support shouldn’t be based solely on prolonged periods of unconsciousness, as these patients may eventually recover.”

The study(link is external and opens in a new window) was published online March 7 in the Annals of Neurology. [read more]

Source: CUIMC Newsroom