COVID-19: Instruments for the Allocation of Mechanical Ventilators

A Narrative Review

Marcelo José dos Santos; Maristela Santini Martins; Fabiana Lopes Pereira Santana; Maria Carolina Silvano Pacheco Corrêa Furtado; Fabiana Cristina Bazana Remédio Miname; Rafael Rodrigo da Silva Pimentel; Ágata Nunes Brito; Patrick Schneider; Edson Silva dos Santos; Luciane Hupalo da Silva


Crit Care. 2020;24(582) 

In This Article


Decision making in allocating ventilators is a complex practice, especially in pandemic settings. For this purpose, there are instruments with varying criteria, which address this difficult and controversial topic.

A number of these instruments have poor scientific evidence and until now have not included the participation of the public or have not yet been submitted to validation by society, which is the affected population and is thus interested in the context. Therefore, certain established criteria may not represent social values and may even be discriminatory.

We believe that it is important to prepare comprehensive public policies for all health services in advance and consider preventive actions to halt the spread of the disease in pandemic scenarios, as well as measures to allocate scarce resources that include clear, objective, and transparent screening instruments which are easy to use in order to avoid dubious interpretations and mistakes regarding the application of the established criteria. Finally, the elaboration of these guidelines cannot be restricted to specialists as this question involves ethical considerations which make the participation of the population necessary.