Louisiana hospital tries new treatment for coronavirus patients

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OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY)- Doctors are looking for new and less invasive ways to help patients as COVID-19 continues to spread across the state.

One of those new treatments is happening at Opelousas General Hospital.

It’s called hyperbaric oxygen treatment.

Dr. Kelly Thibodeaux with Opelousas General says, “The thing we see with severe COVID-19 patients is a complication with an inability to carry oxygen in addition to the problem to lungs itself. It’s not just lung injury. The virus does something to the red blood cells of certain patient.”

The hospital introduced the therapy to COVID-19 patients.

It can be used to treat respiratory distress in patients who have tested positive for the virus.

Dr. Thibodeaux explains, “Fifteen minutes to bring to atmospheric pressures. Then the patient stays in for one hour, then depressurize for about fifteen minutes. They are in there for ninety minutes total.”

In using this method, Dr. Thibodeaux says he sees promising results for the patients.

“To date we’ve done six patients all of whom have responded; couple of them have been discharged,” Dr. Thibodeaux adds.

Studies show patients on ventilators may experience lung damage after being removed.

He explains hyperbaric therapy is less invasive.

“Being inside hyperbaric chambers won’t cause injury. It’s a less invasive way to deliver oxygen that doesn’t require sticking a tube down the trachea,” says. Dr. Thibodeaux.

Dr. Thibodeaux tells News Ten he hopes the treatment will continue and be one more way doctors can help treat COVID-19 patients.

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