Respirator: an algorithm to help prioritize patients who need to be connected

Simon Duchesne, IID member from the Faculty of Medicine at Université Laval, and his research team are developing a decision support algorithm to support people faced with making this serious decision.

Professor Simon Duchesne, a biomedical engineer, has acquired an expertise in the art of interpreting medical images, especially brain scans. The pandemic has led him to transpose this expertise to the problems that intensive care units are now facing. “We believe that chest X-rays contain information that can inform us about how COVID-19 will develop in a patient”, says the researcher.

The tool which he and his collaborators are developing has two objectives. The first is to predict, upon admission to the emergency room or intensive care unit, whether a patient will need mechanical ventilation within 24 hours. “We now know that a patient’s condition with COVID-19 can escalate very quickly. The earlier ventilation begins, the better the chances of survival. We could therefore act more quickly.”

The second objective: to establish in which cases mechanical ventilation has the most chance of success. “If there is a shortage of artificial respirators, the plan is to prioritize them for those patients who are most likely to survive. It may sound simple, but it’s not”, says Simon Duchesne. “There is little evidence on the prognosis for a successful mechanical ventilation procedure and this data has not been calibrated for COVID-19. Our tool compensates for this lack.”

Read the article in ULaval Nouvelles

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