• Aurika Savickaite

"I spent six days and six nights wearing a breathing helmet" said COVID-19 patient in Italy

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

3/27/2020 Chicago


An Italian patient Fausto Russo, 38 who is recovering from pneumonia from COVID-19 has shared his experience of using helmet-based ventilation with the media.

Fausto Russo - Spending Six Days and Six Night Wearing a Breathing Helmet

Video Transcript:

I don’t really know what is happening outside my room. Doctors are in and out to check on you. They try to limit contact to a minimum. It’s really lonely. You can’t have your family close by, nobody to support you. The time I’ve spent in hospital has been truly unique. You have to be patient, that’s the most important thing. You must wait and wait. This experience has changed my life.
I spent six days and six nights wearing a breathing helmet. It is something difficult to imagine and understand. Time never passes, you can’t find a position to sleep. After six days they took the helmet off because my breathing was improving. They gave me an oxygen mask to wear.
Coronavirus walks on the legs of people without symptoms. I didn’t have any contact with people who officially had the virus. Now we just need to stop the pandemic and try to return to normal life as soon as possible.

“I spent six days and six nights wearing a breathing helmet. It is something difficult to imagine and understand,” Russo said. “After six days they took the helmet off because my breathing was improving. They gave me an oxygen mask to wear.”

Fausto Russo, 38, told journalists from the Foreign Press Club via videolink that coronavirus changed his life. He spoke from the Santa Maria Goretti hospital after being released from an intensive care unit. The video is posted by Guardian News on YouTube.


Helmet-based ventilation is common in Europe but not in the US. The goal of our website, HelmetBasedVentilation.com, is to organize information about noninvasive ventilation (NIV) via helmet and help health care professionals learn the benefits of its use for patients with COVID-19.


“Italians are lucky to have this option before patients are intubated. In the US, hospitals were not using helmets until this coronavirus pandemic. The University of Chicago Hospital has used NIV via helmet for its patients during a three-year study.” said Aurika Savickaite, the HelmetBasedVentilation.com team leader.


Helmet-based ventilation is a safer alternative for COVID-19 patients and their caregivers because it creates a closed system with little or no leaks and filters the air to keep the virus from spreading. NIV via helmet prevents intubation for 20% to 35% of patients.