Am J Emerg Med. 2020 Dec 3:S0735-6757(20)31105-0. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2020.11.074. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: Proning has been shown to improve oxygenation and mortality in certain populations of intubated patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome. Small observational analyses of COVID-19 patients suggest awake proning may lead to clinical improvement. Data on safety and efficacy is lacking. We sought to describe the effect of proning on oxygenation in nonintubated COVID-19 patients. We also evaluated feasibility, safety, and other physiological and clinical outcomes associated with this intervention.
METHODS: We conducted a prospective, observational cohort study of nonintubated patients with COVID-19 who underwent proning per an Emergency Department (ED) clinical protocol. Patients with mild to moderate respiratory distress were included. We calculated change in oxygenation by comparing the oxygen saturation to fraction of inspired oxygen ratio (SpO2:FiO2) during the five minutes prior to proning and first 30 min of proning. We also captured data on respiratory rate, duration of proning, need for intubation, intensive care unit admission, survival to discharge.
RESULTS: Fifty-two patients were enrolled. Thirty were excluded for not meeting protocol inclusion criteria or missing baseline oxygenation data, leaving 22 for analysis. The SpO2:FiO2 ratio increased by a median of 5 (IQR: 0-15) in the post-proning period compared to the pre-proning period (median: 298 (IQR: 263-352) vs 295 (IQR: 276-350), p = 0.01). Respiratory rate did not change significantly between time periods. No immediate adverse events occurred during proning. Five patients (23%) were intubated within 48 h of admission.
CONCLUSION: Early, awake proning may be feasible in select COVID-19 patients and was associated with improved oxygenation.