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Our top five COVID-19-related articles from 2020.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) made its way to the U.S. and media coverage began instantaneously. And Managed Healthcare Executive® made sure to stay on top of all the breaking news and novel research for our readers.
Here are the five most read COVID-19 stories of 2020:
5. Proposed Medicare Costs Threaten Anesthesiology Practices Already Struggling Amid Pandemic
Medicare proposed drastic cuts to its payment rates for important healthcare services, which threatened the practices of anesthesiologists who were on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19. The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) opposed such payment reductions and urged Congress to override the budget neutrality requirements and ensure anesthesiologists could continue patient care while being more fairly compensated. With physician anesthesiologists at the forefront of the pandemic due to their expertise in intubation and ventilation, the proposed reductions would hurt practices already weakened by the economy, ASA president Mary Dale Peterson, M.D., MSHCA, FACHE, FASA, said.
4. CT Scans of Lung May Help With Coronavirus Diagnosis
Physicians at Mount Sinai Health System used CT scans to identify specific patterns in the lungs that could help with the diagnosis of COVID-19. In a study published in Radiology, investigators found CT scans cannot rule out COVID-19 early in the infection but that some telltale signs appear later on. The study included scans of 94 patients admitted to four Chinese medical centers. More than half of the 36 patients scanned zero to two days after reporting symptoms showed no evidence of lung disease, while for the 33 patients scanned three to five days after systems developed had patterns of “ground glass opacities.” Among the 25 patients scanned six to 12 days after symptoms, the scans showed full-blown lung disease and patterns similar to those seen in the lungs of patients infected with other coronaviruses.
3. Is the Final Word on Ibuprofen and COVID-19 Risk?
NIH guidelines released in April reported no difference between acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for reducing fever among patients with and without COVID-19. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence added ibuprofen was an option for managing fever in patients with the disease. But other organizations and agencies had previously issued guidances and alerts advising against the use of NSAIDs or ibuprofen in patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.
2. Eye Protection: One of The Most Key Areas to Avoid COVID-19
Eye safety is just as important as staying protecting in other areas of your body in the time of the pandemic, according to Mark Ruchman, M.D., chief medical officer at Versant Health. Ruchman said similar to the nose and mouth, eyes are important to protect because they are mucous membranes where germs can infect the body. He informed readers that safety goggles should be considered when caring for someone who may be infected by the virus, but to still consider switching to glasses rather than contacts as people who wear contacts tend to touch their eyes more often. Ruchman also recommended to get a mask that molds to your nose, to wash glasses with soapy water, and stock up on critical eye care supplies and medications.
1. Not Just a Cough. Digestive Problems May Also Be Symptoms of COVID-19
Nearly half of the 204 COVID-19 patients seen at three hospitals in China reported to the hospital with digestive symptoms as their main complaint, according to study findings published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. Symptoms included loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Investigators said 92 of the 99 patients who presented with digestive symptoms developed respiratory symptoms and just seven of the 99 presented with only digestive symptoms. The findings emphasized the need for clinicians to keep in mind digestive symptoms may occur before respiratory symptoms and that, though rare, a patient’s only presenting symptom of COVID-19 may be digestive issues.