JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— This winter, COVID-19 cases spiked drastically, going from 10 million cases at the beginning of November to nearly 15 million less than a month later. Hospitalization rates are also at an all-time high. Now, a device mainly used to treat migraines has FDA emergency use authorization to help COVID patients breathe.
“Antivirals, high-dose steroids, oxygen, inhalers, antibiotics, you name it,” recalled Marshall Bedder, MD.
Bedder was prescribed it all when he was hospitalized with COVID-19. He had difficulty breathing and his oxygen levels were low.
“When I was admitted, quite hypoxemic, in the seventies, I was worried,” Dr. Bedder shared.
Then this happened. Marshall’s oxygen levels went from 91 to 95 in a few minutes and he could breathe easier. The reason was because of this device.
“GammaCore Sapphire CV was recently authorized by the FDA for use in patients with COVID,” described Peter Staats, MD, MBA, FIPP, chief medical officer at ElectroCore and chief medical officer of National Spine and Pain Centers, the largest integrated network of pain physicians in the United States.
The device works by sending electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve, opening up the lungs and increasing airflow in COVID-19 patients. GammaCore, which is typically used to treat migraines, is now one of the latest tools in the fight against COVID-19.
“We may be able to alter the course of the disease such that, if you can breathe better, you won’t need to go on a mechanical ventilator,” Dr. Staats explained.
Patients can use this at home on their own, but they would need a prescription from a doctor to obtain the device. Marshall got his device while he was in the hospital and he says it has made all the difference.
“Trust me, when you cannot breathe and there’s no other options, it’s a tremendous thing,” expressed Dr. Bedder.
Dr. Staats said the stimulation that GammaCore provides to the vagus nerve can also reduce inflammation and ease the long-term effects of COVID-19.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Milvionne Chery, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer & Editor.