TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - A pulmonologist at COVID-19 referral hospital Persahabatan Hospital, Erlina Burhan, asserted that "happy hypoxia" only existed in people who were infected with COVID-19 and developing other symptoms or symptomatic carriers.
Happy hypoxia or silent hypoxemia is a condition when COVID-19 patients have extremely low levels of oxygen, but show no signs of having breathing difficulties or dyspnea. This is a fatal condition because they feel healthy and comfortable while it may lead to heart failure.
“Happy hypoxia is not found existing in asymptomatic carriers. The symptoms include fever and flu,” added Erlina, who is a member of the Indonesian Association of Pulmonologists.
Thus, people who test positive for COVID-19 and developed those symptoms are recommended to reach nearby health services. Moreover, if they show severe symptoms, they must be immediately referred to hospital.
Patients with happy hypoxia do not feel respiratory distress or shortness of breath because of many infections in their body due to the SARS-CoV-2. The infection then leads to inflammation that blocks the signal to the brain.
In a normal condition, human blood maintains an oxygen saturation of about 95-100%. Yet those with happy hypoxia present low levels of oxygen. The critical condition was recently discovered at Margono Soekarjo Hospital, Banyumas, Central Java.