The application of an oxygen mask, Without supplemental oxygen, improved oxygenation in patients with severe COVID‑19 already treated with high‑flow nasal cannula
Hypoxemia is the clinical hallmark of severe COVID-19infection, and guidelines suggest using high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) when conventional oxygen therapy fails [1, 2]. In late 2020, we observed that oxygenation could be improved in some patients by applying a mask (e.g. a nebulisation mask or simple oxygen mask) to ongoing HFNC. This procedure has quickly become a clinical routine at our hospital, and in this study, we aim to assess its effect. The study was performed at Skåne university hospital in Malmö, Sweden. Eligibility criteria were (1) COVID-19 infection, (2) HFNC treatment, and (3) estimated PaO2/ FiO2 ratio of ≤ 13 kPa (~ 97.5 mmHg). Baseline measurements, including arterial blood gases (ABG), were taken without mask. Then, a simple oxygen mask was applied over nose and mouth for 30 min, without supplemental oxygen, followed by another ABG. Patients maintained position and HFNC settings throughout the procedure, which was monitored by a study physician.