One of the questions we’ve had about COVID-19 is how to treat patients who become critically ill from the virus. Many studies have pointed to high death rates among patients who need to be placed on ventilators.

Well, there might be some good news. Doctors at two Boston hospitals, including Mass General, published their results treating 66 critically ill patients who experienced respiratory failure and were put on ventilators.

The doctors treated these patients with existing treatments for a condition called Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, or ARDS, a life-threatening lung condition.

Scientists have been studying ARDS for over 50 years and have developed treatments that have been proven to work, including turning patients onto their stomachs while on the ventilator.

The good news from this study is that the death rate among these critically ill patients was about 16 percent, not nearly as high as has been reported. 75 percent of patients who were on ventilators were discharged from the ICU.

The Boston researchers say these results show standard ARDS treatments work for patients with respiratory failure due to COVID-19. They can be used until studies prove that some of the newer treatments proposed for COVID-19 actually work.