Image of pill being "fired" at Coronavirus

Intensivist and Team Study COVID-19 Protocols and Outcomes for Developing Best Practices


Wednesday, March 25, 2020- With the rapid onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, only limited national and international guidelines currently exist guiding approaches to treatment. In response to the urgent need for effective, evidence-based approaches, two Houston Methodist physicians are developing management strategies and measuring outcomes for treating COVID-19, an upper respiratory illness that can range in severity.


Deepa Gotur, MD, intensivist and assistant professor of clinical medicine, Department of Medicine, and Faisal N. Masud, MD, medical director of critical care, Houston Methodist Hospital, and professor of clinical anesthesiology, Departments of Anesthesiology & Critical Care and Cardiovascular Sciences, DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, are observing and tracking protocolized treatments in use at Houston Methodist Hospital for all stages of COVID-19.


One area of special interest for Gotur and Masud is determining best practices for managing acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), the condition characterized by rapid onset of inflammation and fluid accumulation in the lungs that initiates the respiratory failure that is a leading cause of death in COVID-19 patients. They also are paying close attention to how the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the COVID-19 illness, can lead to sepsis, which is the body’s dysregulated response to an infection and may lead to organ dysfunction and death. Houston Methodist is an international leader in developing best practices for preventing sepsis and teaching these methods at other medical institutions.


As cases of COVID-19 increase in the Houston area, the Houston Methodist team will study the current and future treatment protocols that are rapidly changing as new information becomes available. The teams will develop multiple research strategies for medications and devices at all stages of intervention. While ensuring the treatments are applied under strict bioethical standards, the team is closely studying and tracking outcomes and applying in real time what they learn for continuous improvement to the care of COVID-19 patients.