Crit Care Med. 2021 Feb 15. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000004849. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: To examine the effects of prone positioning on venous return and its determinants such as mean systemic pressure and venous return resistance in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome.
DESIGN: Prospective monocentric study.
SETTINGS: A 25-bed medical ICU.
PATIENTS: About 22 patients with mild-to-severe acute respiratory distress syndrome in whom prone positioning was decided.
INTERVENTIONS: We obtained cardiac index, mean systemic pressure, and venous return resistance (the latter two estimated through the heart-lung interactions method) before and during prone positioning. Preload responsiveness was assessed at baseline using an end-expiratory occlusion test.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Prone positioning significantly increased mean systemic pressure (from 24 mm Hg [19-34 mm Hg] to 35 mm Hg [32-46 mm Hg]). This was partly due to the trunk lowering performed before prone positioning. In seven patients, prone positioning increased cardiac index greater than or equal to 15%. All were preload responsive. In these patients, prone positioning increased mean systemic pressure by 82% (76-95%), central venous pressure by 33% (21-59%), (mean systemic pressure - central venous pressure) gradient by 144% (83-215)%, while it increased venous return resistance by 71% (60-154%). In 15 patients, prone positioning did not increase cardiac index greater than or equal to 15%. In these patients, prone positioning increased mean systemic pressure by 28% (18-56%) (p < 0.05 vs. patients with significant increase in cardiac index), central venous pressure by 21% (7-54%), (mean systemic pressure - central venous pressure) gradient by 28% (23-86%), and venous return resistance by 37% (17-77%). Eleven of these 15 patients were preload unresponsive.
CONCLUSIONS: Prone positioning increased mean systemic pressure in all patients. The resulting change in cardiac index depended on the extent of increase in (mean systemic pressure - central venous pressure) gradient, of preload responsiveness, and of the increase in venous return resistance. Cardiac index increased only in preload-responsive patients if the increase in venous return resistance was lower than the increase in the (mean systemic pressure -central venous pressure) gradient.