Vol 27, No 2 (2020)
Review Article
Published online: 2020-04-14

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COVID-19 challenge for modern medicine

Tomasz Dzieciatkowski1, Lukasz Szarpak2, Krzysztof J. Filipiak3, Milosz Jaguszewski4, Jerzy R. Ladny56, Jacek Smereka76
Pubmed: 32286679
Cardiol J 2020;27(2):175-183.


Coronaviruses cause disease in animals and people around the world. Human coronaviruses (HCoV) are mainly known to cause infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract but the symptoms may also involve the nervous and digestive systems. Since the beginning of December 2019, there has been an epidemic of SARS-CoV-2, which was originally referred to as 2019-nCoV. The most common symptoms are fever and cough, fatigue, sputum production, dyspnea, myalgia, arthralgia or sore throat, headache, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea (30%). The best prevention is to avoid exposure. In addition, contact per­sons should be subjected to mandatory quarantine. COVID-19 patients should be treated in specialist centers. A significant number of patients with pneumonia require passive oxygen therapy. Non-invasive ventilation and high-flow nasal oxygen therapy can be applied in mild and moderate non-hypercapnia cases. A lung-saving ventilation strategy must be implemented in acute respiratory distress syndrome and mechanically ventilated patients. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is a highly specialized method, available only in selected centers and not applicable to a significant number of cases. Specific pharmacological treatment for COVID-19 is not currently available. Modern medicine is gearing up to fight the new coronavirus pandemic. The key is a holistic approach to the patient including, primar­ily, the use of personal protective equipment to reduce the risk of further virus transmission, as well as patient management, which consists in both quarantine and, in the absence of specific pharmacological therapy, symptomatic treatment.

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