Estonian hospitals publish joint manual on COVID-19 treatments

  • 2020-11-16
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – A new manual for the treatment of COVID-19 patients has been drawn up in collaboration between University of Tartu Hospital, Tallinn Children's Hospital, West Tallinn Central Hospital and the North Estonia Medical Center (PERH), which brings together newest research-based information both for the treatment of patients in intensive care as well as at regular COVID-19 wards based on common principles all over Estonia.

"Compared with the situation in spring, we are considerably better prepared now, we have more evidence-based information and the phase of experimenting has been left behind. In the treatment of COVID-19 patients, Estonian hospitals base themselves on the newest global practice; the COVID-19 treatment manual brings together all the know-how and developments of the latest period," said Kristo Erikson, head of the Center of Intensive Care at PERH.

Erikson described it as very important that medics from four Estonian hospitals have jointly contributed to preparing the joint treatment guidelines and the manual is now available to all hospitals across Estonia.

Kadri Tamme, senior doctor and teacher at University of Tartu Hospital's Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Clinic, said that to date, hospitals worked based on separate manuals that were  compiled using existing scientific literature in spring.

"The advantage of the new manual is its comprehensiveness, its embracing different stages of hospital treatment -- at regular departments and in intensive care. Also the portions concerning pregnant women and children are more comprehensive now," Tamme said.

Anne Kallaste, head of the infectious diseases department at the Internal Medicine Clinic of the University of Tartu Hospital, said that where COVID-19 is a viral illness, based on the findings of surveys published to date bacterial co-infections have been found in less than 10 percent of hospitalized patients and in 10-15 percent of the patients needing intensive care. Kallaste said that, just like in spring, the need to not routinely use treatment with antibiotics is stressed in the manual. 

"For this, the new manual brings specific guidelines for assessing the need for commencing  antibacterial treatment," she said.

"The treatment of COVID-19 will nevertheless continue to be foremost symptomatic and supportive. We definitely have become wiser when it comes to treatment against thrombosis and can offer preventive treatments to patients. Also, in anti-viral treatment we follow the science-based practices of the current moment; some of the medicines used in spring have not proved their effectiveness," Erikson said.

The new manual is meant for all medical specialties, and the workgroup that prepared it included intensive care doctors, infectious disease specialists, internists, gynecologists and radiologists.