GREENWICH, CT (WFSB) — There are a lot of unknowns about COVID-19, but many who recover, struggle to breathe.
One hospital in Connecticut may have found a way to help patients.
Greenwich Hospital is using pure oxygen, which is often used to heal wounds.
“The first 10 minutes, they feel pressure on their ears just like flying in an airplane. After that they are able to rest and fall asleep,” said Dr. Sandra Wainwright, of Greenwich Hospital.
COVID can cause very severe pneumonia, which blocks your body’s ability to absorb oxygen.
Greenwich Hospital’s method of using a hyperbaric chamber to treat patients with COVID is very unique.
The chamber is like a pressure cooker, where patients lay down for 90 minutes.
“We slide the patient in and close the door. We pressurize it. That allows us to dissolve great amounts of oxygen in the patients’ blood and organs,” said Dr. Wainwright.
Doctors say it relaxes them and they’re able to breathe without panting.
“Think of oxygen as the drug. You take a dose for a certain number of days and it has its efficacy,” Wainwright said.
So far, five patients have been treated and it takes several treatments. Some have shown significant improvement, however not everyone.
Cayetano Velesco was very sick, but after five treatments he feels much better.
“After he left the hospital, he didn’t have any more problems with breathing. Before, yes, that’s why he went to the hospital,” Velesco said.
Doctors said they feel the treatments are more successful if they are started early.
Greenwich Hospital was the first to start this treatment, and now they are part of a pilot program with five other medical facilities. This is expected to be done in the next year to treat 600 patients.