Prone positioning acute respiratory distress syndrome patients
Prone position has been used in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) patients for more than 40 years in ICU. After having demonstrated its capability to significantly improve oxygenation in a large number of patients, sometimes dramatically, this procedure has been found to prevent ventilator-induced lung injury, the primary concern for the intensivists managing ARDS patients. Over the time, several trials have been done, which regularly improved and refined from each other. At the end, significant improvement in survival has been demonstrated in the most severe ARDS patients, at a threshold of 100–150 mmHg PaO2/FiO2 ratio. The effect of proning on survival cannot be predicted and seems unrelated with both severity of oxygenation impairment and oxygenation response to proning. The rate of complication is declining with the increase in centers expertise. The pressure sores are more frequent in prone and require a special attention. Prone position is a key component of lung protective mechanical ventilation and should be used as a first line therapy in association with low tidal volume and neuromuscular blocking agents in patients with severe ARDS.