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Boris Johnson: Medic explains what the move to ICU means
6 April 2020, 21:00 | Updated: 6 April 2020, 21:07
As Prime Minister Boris Johnson is admitted to an intensive care unit, a chief medic explains what being in ICU means and why he is in there.
Professor Paul Hunter explains that if a patient is placed in an intensive care unit, it means they are "very sick", for example a patient is struggling to breathe by themselves or maintain their cardiovascular system.
It is when "you need a lot of nursing and technical care to keep you going," the professor said.
Professor Hunter said that for people who go into intensive care with Covid-19 the average time people spend there is four or five days, although there is "considerable variation."
"Whether you survive or not you tend to be in intensive care for an average of four to five days."
Professor Hunter explained that those in ICU have their body closely monitored and if they worsened, they are provided with organ support in the form of a ventilator. He added only one in five patients in ICU require kidney dialysis.
"One of the things about Covid-19 is often people deteriorate very slowly and you can actually start off and be quite well for a week or so and then find it quite difficult to breathe... and if you continue to deteriorate you may need to go on to ventilation," he explained.
Professor Hunter also pointed out that often and usually the body's defence systems win against the virus and people ultimately recover.
A No 10 spokesperson has said:
"Since Sunday evening, the Prime Minister has been under the care of doctors at St Thomas’ Hospital, in London, after being admitted with persistent symptoms of coronavirus.
"Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the Prime Minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital.
"The PM has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is the First Secretary of State, to deputise for him where necessary.
"The PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks all NHS staff for their hard work and dedication."