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Industry News

 Published: January 31, 2022

By: Debbie Bunch

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image of female health professional inspecting throat of young girl

Additional Trilogy Ventilators Recalled

According to the FDA, Philips Respironics is recalling certain Trilogy Evo ventilators that were distributed to customers in the U.S. and Korea between April 15, 2021 and May 24, 2021. The company has learned that the devices were made with an incorrect and non-specified polyester polyurethane, raw foam product that could break down and potentially enter the device’s air pathway, causing the user to inhale or swallow harmful debris or chemicals.

The product has been determined to be the same PE-PUR foam used in Trilogy ventilators recalled in June of 2021. The previous recall involved the Trilogy 100 and 200 ventilators.

Other Trilogy models, including the Trilogy Evo O2, Trilogy EV300, and Trilogy Evo Universal are not affected by the recall. Read More

What People with Asthma Think About Masks

Masks are now a part of daily pandemic life. But little is known about how masks affect people with respiratory problems. Now researchers publishing in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology shed some light on the issue, at least for people with asthma.

The U.S. investigators surveyed 501 adults with asthma about their mask-wearing habits and any problems they perceived related to wearing a mask. While only 5% said they didn’t always wear a mask while in public, 84% reported some discomfort related to the mask, with 75% saying they were short of breath at least a little of the time they were wearing it.

The researchers developed a Mask Effects Scale (MES) to gauge symptoms while wearing a mask and correlated the scale results to the level of asthma control in the participants. They found people with poorer asthma control had higher MES scores, and the longer a mask was worn, the higher the MES.

The survey included an area where participants could write in comments about their experiences with mask use, and 45% who offered comments said they had difficulty breathing and more coughing when wearing a mask. But 39% of the commenters reported no issues with their asthma symptoms with mask use.

However, some of the commenters did express the need for regular mask breaks to allow them to take deep breaths and practice their breathing exercises. Participants also suggested to use a pulse oximeter to ensure yourself you are getting enough oxygen, use only room temperature masks to avoid the effects that cold could have on your asthma, and if you have to cough while wearing one, apologize to those around you and note that you have asthma. Read More

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These ECMO Babies are at Higher Risk of 30 Day Readmission

A recent study out of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles suggests some infants treated with ECMO are more likely to require hospital readmission soon after discharge than others.

The investigators looked at 6,990 neonates who had been on ECMO, 58% of whom survived to hospital discharge. Readmissions were extremely common. Overall, 54% had to return to the hospital within a year. But only 21% required readmission within 30 days.

Among that group, those suffering from cardiovascular conditions were twice as likely as others to need readmission, with 42% returning.

The researchers believe their study can help identify those infants on ECMO who could benefit from additional resources in the 30 days after discharge. “The overarching goal of our research is to continually search for ways to enhance care for the complex babies we treat,” said study author Ashwini Lakshmanan, MD, MS, MPH.

The study appeared in the Journal of Perinatology. Read More

Hospital Room Surfaces Not a Big Risk Factor for COVID-19 Spread

Researchers at Duke University Hospital have more evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 virus doesn’t last long on surfaces. They collected samples from the hospital rooms of 20 patients with COVID-19, finding that only 19 of 347 were positive for the virus. Moreover, among those that were positive, only one demonstrated the potential to be infectious.

The samples were taken from several areas of the room, including the bedrails, sink, medical prep area, room computer, exit door handle, and the nursing station computer right outside the door. Samples were taken on hospital days 1, 3, 6, 10, and 14, and the one sample that did show potential to be infectious was collected from the bedrail on day three. That patient was suffering from diarrhea and fever at the time.

The authors conclude hospital surfaces are not a high-risk mode of transmission for SARS-CoV-2.

The study was published by Clinical Infectious Diseases. Read More

COVID-19 Symptoms More Likely in E-Cig Users Who Test Positive

According to investigators from the Mayo Clinic who compared COVID-19 symptoms among more than 280 people who reported vaping and 1,445 people who did not, those who vaped were significantly more likely to experience symptoms after testing positive for COVID-19.

All of the participants tested positive in sites in Minnesota and Wisconsin and were age 18 and older. Vapers had a higher frequency of symptoms like headaches, muscle aches and pain, chest pain, nausea and vomiting, and loss of sense of smell or taste.

Vapers who also reported smoking traditional cigarettes experienced more labored breathing and had more visits to the emergency department than the non-vapers in the study.

“There are a lot of studies that have shown that e-cigarette use may be associated with inflammation in the lungs and also may cause severe lung injury in certain users, causing a condition called e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury,” said study author Robert Vassallo, MD. “Our research was not designed to test whether e-cigarette use increases the risk of acquiring COVID infection, but it clearly indicates that symptom burden in patients with COVID-19 who vape is greater than in those who do not vape.”

The study was published by the Journal of Primary Care & Community Health. Read More

People Hospitalized with COVID-19 Run the Risk of Readmission

British researchers offered some insights into readmissions among patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19 in a paper published by PLOS Medicine.

The study involved nearly 25,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, who were compared with 100,000 people in the general population and more than 15,000 people hospitalized with influenza in 2017-2019.

The investigators found the COVID-19 patients were twice as likely to require another hospitalization in the months after discharge or to die than those in the general population. They had five times the risk of death from any cause.

COVID-19 patients had a slightly lower risk of the combined risk of hospitalization and death when compared to the influenza patients. Still, they had a greater risk of death from any cause. They also had a greater risk of hospital readmission or death resulting from their initial infection, and a greater risk of death due to dementia.

“Our findings suggest that people who have had a severe case of COVID-19 requiring a hospital stay are at substantially elevated risk of experiencing further health problems in the months after their hospitalization,” said study author Krishnan Bhaskaran. “It is important that patients and their doctors are aware of this so that any problems that develop can be treated as early as possible.” Read More

Telehealth Gets Mixed Reviews

A study conducted among chronic kidney disease patients and their use of telemedicine may also have implications for those with chronic respiratory conditions.

Investigators from Tufts carried out the research. They interviewed patients and physicians to gather their perceptions of telehealth.

The investigators found a wide variation in opinion about the use of telehealth among older patients, even though most were able to navigate the technology needed to make telehealth visits happen. In addition, patients of color and those who required additional accessibility features, such as interpreters, tended toward dissatisfaction, citing concerns about the quality of the care they were receiving and the prospect of being denied care in the telehealth setting.

On the flip side, patients did appreciate the chance telehealth afforded them to have family members and other caretakers involved in the visit, something that has been harder to do during in-person visits during the pandemic.

Physicians cited telehealth’s negative impact on their ability to conduct tests and build a personal rapport with their patients. Still, they appreciated the greater insights into the patient’s home afforded by telehealth. In addition, they liked seeing the medications their patients were taking and interacting with caregivers.

The authors note Medicare will cover telehealth visits through 2023, but what happens after that is uncertain. They believe the perceptions of patients with chronic conditions could figure heavily into the discussions.

Their bottom line: telehealth may be best utilized not as a replacement for in-person visits but as a way to augment them. The study appeared in JAMA Network Open. Read More

Email newsroom@aarc.org with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Debbie Bunch

Debbie Bunch is an AARC contributor who writes feature articles, news stories, and other content for Newsroom, the AARC website, and associated emailed newsletters. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, photography, and spending time with her children and grandchildren. Connect with Debbie by email or on AARConnect or LinkedIn.

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