World J Crit Care Med. 2021 Sep 9;10(5):183-193. doi: 10.5492/wjccm.v10.i5.183. eCollection 2021 Sep 9.
The novel coronavirus, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization in early 2020 has brought with itself major morbidity and mortality. It has increased hospital occupancy, heralded economic turmoil, and the rapid transmission and community spread have added to the burden of the virus. Most of the patients are admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) for acute hypoxic respiratory failure often secondary to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Based on the limited data available, there have been different opinions about the respiratory mechanics of the ARDS caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Our article provides an insight into COVID-19 pathophysiology and how it differs from typical ARDS. Based on these differences, our article explains the different approach to ventilation in COVID-19 ARDS compared to typical ARDS. We critically analyze the role of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) and proning in the ICU patients. Through the limited data and clinical experience are available, we believe that early proning in COVID-19 patients improves oxygenation and optimal PEEP should be titrated based on individual lung compliance.