What is the importance of patient positioning in the acute management of stroke?

Updated: Sep 08, 2017
  • Author: Edward C Jauch, MD, MS, FAHA, FACEP; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Studies have previously shown that cerebral perfusion pressure is maximized when patients are maintained in a supine position. However, lying flat may serve to increase ICP.  A cluster-randomized crossover trial in patients with acute stroke (85% ischemic) showed that disability outcomes after acute stroke did not differ significantly between patients assigned to a lying-flat position for 24 hours and patients assigned to a sitting-up position with the head elevated to at least 30 degrees for 24 hours. [23]   Because prolonged immobilization may lead to its own complications, including deep venous thrombosis, pressure ulcer aspiration, and pneumonia, patients should not be kept flat for longer than 24 hours. [24]

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