Turkish Thoracic Journal
Original Article

Early Prone Positioning and Non-Invasive Ventilation in a Critical COVID-19 Subset. A Single Centre Experience in Southern Italy


Sub-intensive Care Unit, Department of Respiratory Pathophysiology Monaldi - Cotugno Hospitals, Naples, Italy

Turk Thorac J 2021; 22: 57-61
DOI: 10.5152/TurkThoracJ.2021.20158
Read: 1052 Downloads: 304 Published: 11 February 2021

OBJECTIVE: Prone positioning (PP) has demonstrated to be a safe adjunctive therapy for severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). There is limited evidence of PP effects on awake patients. This study aimed to investigate the effects and feasibility of PP on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-associated awake patients with ARDS in a subintensive setting of care.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: This is a single-center case-control study involving patients with severe COVID-19 infection. A total of 29 patients underwent noninvasive ventilation, and PP was initiated 12 h from admission; 18 patients tolerated prone and side positioning for at least 10 h/d and cycled their position every 2 h, and 11 patients had no complaints with PP.

RESULTS: A total of 29 patients (25 men and 4 women) with a median age of 64 years showed the average baseline white blood cell count of 8.45×109 cells/L, C-reactive protein of 10.1 mg/L, lactate dehydrogenase of 366 mU/mL, and interleukin-6 of 172 pg/mL. Basal pO2/FiO2 ratio (P/F) was 95 (±56.5) and showed no linear correlation with any of the inflammatory markers tested. Computed tomography findings included ground-glass opacities in 100% (29/29) of patients. Consolidation/atelectasis was found in 58% (17/29) of patients. P/F was homogeneously distributed at baseline in patients with PP (96.5) and without PP (95). P/F during PP increased significantly compared with noncompliant controls (288 vs. 202; p=0.0002). Total duration of respiratory failure was significantly shorter in patients with PP (14 vs. 21 days; p=0.002). The number of days to recover from respiratory failure inversely correlated with PP P/F independently from baseline P/F.

CONCLUSION: COVID-19 can lead to a severe impairment of gas exchange regardless of inflammatory status. Therefore, respiratory support may play a major role in COVID-19 treatment. We documented substantial efficacy of PP when started early and for at least 10 h/d. On awake patients, PP feasibility strictly depends on patient’s compliance. The interface should be carefully chosen to best fit every patient.

Cite this article as: Simioli F, Annunziata A, Langella G, et al. Early prone positioning and non-invasive ventilation in a critical COVID-19 subset. A single centre experience in Southern Italy. Turk Thorac J 2021; 22(1): 57-61.

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