COVID-19, intubation and the risks to healthcare workers, subject of upcoming UP webinar

| Written by Celeste Ann Castillo Llaneta


Anesthesiologists play a critical role in the hospital treatment and care of patients with severe COVID-19. One of their tasks is to perform endotracheal intubation (EI), a procedure done to help people who have difficulty breathing, which is one of the symptoms of COVID-19.

However, performing EI on COVID-positive patients who are suffering from a difficult airway, a clinical situation in which an anesthesiologist experiences difficulty with upper airway ventilation, EI or both, poses unique risks for the healthcare workers. For COVID-19 patients, current guidelines recommend that medical workers perform EI in difficult airway scenarios while the patient is awake, which puts them at risk of getting infected themselves when the patient coughs or expels aerosol particles during the process.

The case of two young, male COVID-positive patients who were rushed to the hospital due to difficulty in breathing and who needed awake EI performed on them, and how the anesthesiologist teams handled the risks, will be the subject of the 23rd installment of the University of the Philippines (UP) webinar series, “STOP COVID DEATHS: VIRTUAL GRAND ROUNDS”, the very first online medical grand rounds in the Philippines. The webinar, “Merging Fear with Difficulty: Taking Charge of the Airway”, will be held on September 25, 2020 (Friday) 12:00 nn.

Dr. Marie Christelle S. Endencia, Chief Resident of the Department of Anesthesiology, UP Philippine General Hospital (UP PGH), will be the main presenter; while Dr. Ricardo L. Gallaga, Jr., Dean of the University of Saint La Salle College of Medicine in Bacolod City, will be guest speaker. Dr. Loreto A. Fellizar, a Professor and a former Chair of the UP PGH Department of Anesthesiology will be the discussant. Dr. Albert B. Albay, Jr., a consultant with the Division of Pulmonary Medicine of the UP-PGH Department of Medicine, and Mr. Peter M. Jimenez, a COVID-19 survivor, will be the reactors.

The UP webinar series, “STOP COVID DEATHS: VIRTUAL GRAND ROUNDS”, was organized by UP in partnership with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and the UP Manila NIH National Telehealth Center, in cooperation with the

UP Manila College of Medicine and the UP-PGH.

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