What is Proning and Why is it Becoming More Important These Days?
The coronavirus pandemic has affected many people. Victims experience a wide range of symptoms that appear in 12 to 14 days from contraction. One of the major symptoms is difficulty in breathing, the major one being shortness of breath.
Eventually, the COVID virus infection can also lead to pulmonary edema and acute respiratory distress syndrome. With all the different treatments for COVID patients, prone position was found helpful for improving ventilation to the lungs.
Proning means lying flat on the stomach. According to various medical studies, proning helps the patients to get more oxygen into the blood. This placement can significantly help COVID-19 patients who have experienced weakened oxygen levels. Prone positioning also helps in distributing blood and airflow evenly. It significantly reduces the imbalance and improves gas exchange.
The concept of prone position was also used during the 1970s for ARDS patients. It allows better expansion of the back lung regions and improves body movement, leading to better oxygenation.
Proning has proven to enhance oxygenation for a long time. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, people accepted the use of proning in non-intubated and awake patients. This intervention also has minimal risks and requires minimal assistance. Through this, hospitals overcome the shortage of ventilators and decrease the burden of the pandemic.
How Does Proning Help COVID-19 Patients?
Patients with mild symptoms, including respiratory distress, may not need a ventilator. But their symptoms may progress to severe respiratory distress. Through proning, they can improve their oxygen levels.
Due to the improvements seen from proning, it was used as part of the care plan for COVID patients. According to reports, the application of proning with standard oxygen therapy or non-invasive ventilation can decrease the risks of self-induced lung injury. Furthermore, this posture may help in postponing or avoiding tracheal intubation.
Although not all COVID patients are required to undergo proning, patients who experience oxygen deprivation may do this position. By simply lying flat or lying down your stomach can help, most likely when the oxygen levels drop below 94 or 92%.
What is Proning: Step-by-Step Guide to Maximize Results in Covid-19 Patients
There are three proning positions. You can alternate between them.
- Lying flat down on the stomach
- Lying laterally on the right side
- Lying laterally on the left side
Doctors suggest remaining in an alternate position for less or equal to 30 minutes. Also, it would be best to do this position with the guidance of an expert if the patient has existing neck and back ailments.
To perform the prone position, the patient requires plenty of pillows. They need to have a pillow for the neck, chest, upper thighs, and below the shin.
One person may do the prone position up to 16 hours a day. But the patient must keep in mind that it should be done in multiple cycles. Also, they can adjust their position if they are uncomfortable. They can utilize the pillows to alter the pressure areas. The caregiver should also keep track of the patient’s injuries or sores.
Benefits of Proning
Here are some of the proven benefits of prone position to COVID-19 patients.
- Expansion of the lung (specifically the dorsal region), enhancing the ventilation
- Decrease of body weight on the lungs
- Improves draining of lung secretions
- Opens up the tiny air sacs or alveoli units
- Boosts the efficacy of the heart that pumps blood through the lungs
Through proning, all the conditions mentioned above can improve oxygenation. This, in turn, will boost the oxygen level and reduce respiratory problems.
Precautionary Measures for Proning
- The patient must not perform this position after having a meal.
- Maintain a position wherein the patient is comfortable.
- Consult a doctor before doing the self-proning technique.
- Pregnant women and patients with major cardiac conditions can’t do proning.
- Patients with major cardiac conditions are not allowed to perform a prone position.
- If the patient has an unstable spine or fractures, they are not allowed to perform a prone position.
At this point, more and more people have been facing medical challenges due to the COVID-19 virus. Even breathing a become a massive challenge for some. Furthermore, some countries have been experiencing a shortage of ventilators. However, we don’t need to stop because studies have shown that there are ways to alleviate breathing problems. One of these solutions is proning.
This directive can be used as part of the COVID-19 treatment plan. People can practice proning at home or in the hospital. If their blood oxygen level comes down to 92, proning is facilitated on a routine basis. Prone position is also a low-risk and low-cost manoeuvre to help patients with COVID-19. This can also delay the development of pneumonia or decrease the need for intensive care. However, this treatment may not be a permanent treatment, but this can help while there are no medical resources available. It helps in buying time until adequate medical attention is ready.
We hope this article cleared your inquiry on what is proning. You can keep following us for more lifestyle news.