Reversible platypnea-orthodeoxia in COVID-19 acute respiratory distress syndrome survivors

Link to article at PubMed

Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2020 Aug 7:103515. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2020.103515. Online ahead of print.


Platypnea-orthodeoxia syndrome (POS) is a rare clinical syndrome characterized by orthostatic oxygen desaturation and positional dyspnea from supine to an upright position. We observed POS in 5 of 20 cases of severe 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pneumonia, which demonstrated persistently elevated shunt fraction even after liberation from mechanical ventilation. POS was first observed during physiotherapy sessions; median oxygen desaturation was 8% (range: 8-12%). Affected individuals were older (median 64 vs 53 years old, p = 0.05) and had lower body mass index (median 24.7 vs 27.6 kg/m (Radermacher et al., 2017), p = 0.03) compared to those without POS. While POS caused alarm and reduced tolerance to therapy, this phenomenon resolved over a median of 17 days with improvement of parenchymal disease. The mechanisms of POS are likely due to gravitational redistribution of pulmonary blood flow resulting in increased basal physiological shunting and upper zone dead space ventilation due to the predominantly basal distribution of consolidative change and reported vasculoplegia and microthrombi in severe COVID-19 disease.

PMID:32777268 | DOI:10.1016/j.resp.2020.103515

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