What is the difference in oxygenation from the supine to the prone position in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)?

Updated: Mar 27, 2020
  • Author: Eloise M Harman, MD; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Answer

Some 60-75% of patients with ARDS have significantly improved oxygenation when turned from the supine to the prone position. The improvement in oxygenation is rapid and often substantial enough to allow reductions in FIO2 or level of CPAP. The prone position is safe, with appropriate precautions to secure all tubes and lines, and does not require special equipment. The improvement in oxygenation may persist after the patient is returned to the supine position and may occur on repeat trials in patients who did not respond initially.


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