HEALTH

New system for COVID-19 patients at risk of dying created by doctors

Sep 30, 2020, 7:55 PM
new system COVID-19 utah deaths, Utah COVID-19 cases climb high with 2987 new cases and 17 deaths...
FILE: A COVID-19 test being given at Glendale Middle School in Salt Lake City. Credit: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News, September 15, 2020

MURRAY – Doctors are calling it a breakthrough in how the most severe cases of COVID-19 can be treated.  They’ve come up with a new system that could spot potential complications, and give doctors a better idea of how those with COVID-19 need to be cared for.

Researchers say COVID-19 is causing reactions, unlike other viruses they’ve already studied.  The disease has been deadly for thousands, but for so many others the symptoms are minor, if noticeable at all.

However, in the more severe cases, doctors have been able to spot something known as “hyperinflammatory syndrome,” or a “cytokine storm,” which is when the immune system overreacts and produces too much of the chemicals it needs to fight the virus.

Doctor Brandon Webb with Intermountain Healthcare says, “Right from the earliest days of the pandemic, we recognized that some patients with COVID-19 develop an inappropriate and excessive inflammatory immune response.”

Webb and his partners studied 299 patients admitted to Intermountain hospitals and found several different possible red flags.  For instance, if doctors find too much of a compound called ferritin, it could be a sign that the macrophage cells are working too hard.  Also, blood may clot too easily, which can cut off the oxygen supply to affected organs.

Plus, doctors have to take a close look at how well the liver is working.

Doctor Samuel Brown says, “When the immune system throughout the body is in overload, it’s common that the liver function tests will be abnormal.  We’re seeing that in COVID-19 and in the patients who are quite severe.”

Brown says they believe hyperinflammatory syndrome can lead to severe illness or even death, but they want to take their models to other cities with higher death rates for further research.

“It looks like this is an important component of some of the COVID-19 deaths,” Brown says.

Health care workers can now take a look at all of the criteria researchers have found and add them to one simple test.  When the results come back, Webb says they create something called a “cHIS score” which can indicate the kind of treatment a patient should get.  He says patients who met certain kinds of criteria in their cHIS score are four times more likely to be placed on a ventilator.

“We’re treating them according to the complications that that particular patient is exhibiting,” Webb says.

Doctors are also able to tell if a patient should be put on anti-inflammatory steroids, or not, based on their cHIS score.  These steroids have worked wonders in some patients, but have made symptoms worse for others.

Webb and Brown’s study has been published in The Lancet Rheumatology, a British medical journal.

Related stories

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team. here.

Today’s Top Stories

Health

Baby Formula Shortagae...
Aubri Wuthrich

Shortage of baby formula continues to worry parents

While the baby formula shortage has improved since earlier this year, experts say there still isn't enough.
1 day ago
A Utah doctor says Americans should not avoid a preventative test for colon cancer, despite a recen...
Simone Seikaly

After celebrity death to colon cancer, Utah doctor weighs in on colonoscopy

Colon cancer and colonoscopies are in the news after the death of actress Kirstie Alley to colorectal cancer.
1 day ago
A woman wishing not to be identified shows her sadness after the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake ran ou...
Waverly Golden

Expert joins Inside Sources on women accessing homeless resources

Emily Darowski, Associate Director for the Utah Women and Leadership Project, discusses a recent study the project conducted on women accessing homeless resources in Utah.
2 days ago
KSL NewsRadio's Dave & Dujanovic discuss how to deal with and overcome seasonal depression....
Mark Jones

How to deal with and overcome seasonal depression

KSL NewsRadio's Dave & Dujanovic discuss how to deal with and overcome seasonal depression.
2 days ago
a small boy recieves a COVID-19 vaccine in China...
JOE McDONALD Associated Press

China eases anti-COVID measures following protests

Experts warn, however, that restrictions can’t be lifted completely until at least mid-2023 because millions of elderly people still must be vaccinated.
2 days ago
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19:  The U.S. Capitol is shown as a looming government shutdown threatens ...
Manu Raju and Phil Mattingly, CNN

Defense bill likely to include end to military Covid vaccine mandate, source says

A massive bill setting defense policy is likely to end the military Covid vaccine mandate, a source familiar with the negotiations tells CNN.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
New system for COVID-19 patients at risk of dying created by doctors