Prone position improves Oxygenation in COVID-19 Patients

What is Proning?

A person is put in a prone position to avoid being put on a ventilator. Proning refers to a position in which an individual lies down flat on the belly and the chest. The most significant advantage of this therapy is that very little or no equipment is needed. It is an effective treatment method for ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome).

The satisfying mechanism of Proning proves the efficacy of this therapy.

When an individual flips on his stomach, the blood eventually gets more oxygen as oxygenation becomes easier in this position. This is because the human body comprises more lung tissues in the backside than on the front side of the body. This is a function of anatomy. Proning, therefore, helps the individual’s respiratory system to work better.

Proning is a potential therapy for Coronavirus patients.

Coronavirus interferes with the function of the lung by pooling the abnormal fluids towards the back of the body. In a prone position, gravity works as a helping hand since it helps the substances discharged from a cell gland or organ to move downwards. These substances are known as secretions. Due to this movement, the chance of hospitalization and death of the patient gradually decreases. Also, the lungs of the individual become compressed during this therapy. The ribs tend to have more curvature in a prone position which illustrates that the lung becomes less flattened.

Since Coronavirus is a primary respiratory disease, Proning seems to be an effective method of treatment. Notable improvements in hemodynamics could be seen in patients undertaking this therapy. Considering the current pandemic situation in the world, this can prove to be a fruitful technique in managing patients with COVID-19.


Why Proning?

In managing patients with ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) in critical condition, Proning is incorporated. This is because of its efficient mechanism and easy technique that can be initiated at home also. The therapy helps the patients in managing symptoms like shortness of breath, hindering the need for life support or a ventilator.

Conditions for Proning

Proning should be initiated only in the following circumstances.

  • The heart rate of the patient must be stable before and during the therapy.
  • The blood pressure of the patient must be stable before and during the therapy.
  • The patient should be able to communicate or call for help (if needed).

Proning Technique

The protocol of Proning is dependent on the institution. However, the general steps and key points associated with this therapy are stated as follow:

  • Blood pressure needs to be monitored 
  • Oxygen therapy is needed
  • Emergency buttons to be located near the bed of the patient
  • The patient needs to be in reach of sight of the nurses and doctors
  • The physician needs to be near the bed of the patient
  • Proning position of the patient needs to be monitored
  • Arrangements for follow-up need to be made

Since the ongoing pandemic has affected a lot many lives, it became important to undertake the hunt for effective therapies that could manage the symptoms of patients with COVID-19. Other than Coronavirus, Proning is absolutely efficacious for use in patients with other ARDS, provided: they are eligible for Proning.


COVID-19, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, sars-cov-2, prone position, respiratory distress syndrome, adult, pandemics