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Little Rock's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Little Rock, Arkansas | THV11.com

VERIFY: Why aren't BiPap machines used to treat COVID-19?

A viewer asked the question, “Why are bi-pap machines not being used on patients in the hospital with COVID-19?"

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — With people still being admitted to the hospital with complications from coronavirus, it led a THV11 viewer to ask about the use of a specific machine to help patients recover.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, BiPap stands for bilevel positive airway pressure. It’s a type of ventilator that pushes air into your lungs, helping you breathe.

A viewer asked the question, “Why are bi-pap machines not being used on patients in the hospital with COVID-19? Data shows that it helps keep patients off ventilators which improves outcomes?”

Our sources, UAMS, CHI St. Vincent, and Baptist Health.

UAMS told us their goal is to treat patients with the most effective treatment while maintaining a safe environment. 

A spokesperson explained, “BiPap machines are considered a high-risk for transmission of coronavirus disease because it aerosolizes droplet particles. Aerosolized coronavirus can remain in the air for up to three hours. Any persons entering a room with an aerosol-generating procedure are at risk for receiving COVID-19.”

Both CHI St. Vincent and Baptist Health are using bi-pap machines for some COVID-19 patients to avoid a ventilator. 

A spokesperson with CHI St. Vincent explained, "early on there was a concern that the use might increase aerosolization of the virus, increasing the risk to healthcare workers. With experience, they have developed appropriate protections to protect healthcare workers and avoid mechanical ventilation for patients when possible."