To investigate the value of high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) in treating a patient with Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
The effect of HFNC applied in the first imported MERS patient with complication of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) to China was observed. The patient was admitted to Department of Critical Care Medicine of Huizhou Municipal Central Hospital on May 28th, 2015, and the changes in various clinical parameters and their significance were analyzed.
A 43-year old male was admitted to negative pressure isolation intensive care unit with the complaint of back ache for 7 days and fever for 2 days. Vital signs and saturation of pulse oximetry (SpO2) were monitored continuously. After admission, ribavirin was given orally for 12 days and α-interferon was administered once on the first day. However, after 2-week anti-virus therapy, the virus test was positive. Ceftriaxone was given on the 4th day, and it was changed to meropenem on the 3rd day for 2 weeks. Immune globulin was given on the 4th day and continued for 1 week. Thymosin-α1 was given on the 8th day and continued for 2 weeks. According to his past history, methimazole had been given continuously for hyperthyroidism and other symptomatic treatment. Oxygen inhalation (6 L/min) was given immediately after admission, but the condition of patient worsened with the following symptoms: frequent cough and obvious shortness of breath. Moreover pleural effusion gradually increased as shown by X-ray. SPO2 was maintained only at about 0.91. Oxygenation index (PaO2/FiO2) decreased to 144 mmHg (1 mmHg = 0.133 kPa). So oxygen inhalation via nasal cannula was changed to HFNC after 2 days. The parameters were set as follows: temperature 34 degrees C, flow rate 20 L/min, fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) 0.50. The flow was raised 5 L/min every 10 minutes, and was continued till the target value reached 60 L/min. FiO2 was modified according to SpO2 and PaO2/FiO2. FiO2 was set to 0.80 on the 5th day of admission. Shortness of breath of the patient was improved on the 7th day of admission after the application of HFNC. FiO2 was then decreased to 0.58 as PaO2/FiO2 rose. Then the flow was gradually decreased to 30 L/min. HFNC was reduced with continuous improvement in PaO2/FiO2. HFNC was changed to low flow oxygen inhalation nasal cannula (2-3 L/min) on the 20th day. Oxygen treatment was stopped on the 23rd day, and SpO2 was maintained at 0.98-1.00. Activities on bed were gradually increased. The patient was cured and discharged from hospital on June 26th. The patient showed good tolerance and high compliance during the treatment with HFNC. No nosocomial spread occurred during the treatment.
HFNC could improve respiratory function of the patient with MERS obviously, and complication ARDS was prevented. HFNC might reduce nosocomial spread.