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A Journal on Anesthesiology, Resuscitation, Analgesia and Intensive Care
INFECTIONS SMART 2002 Milan, May 29-31, 2002
Minerva Anestesiologica 2002 April;68(4):266-8
Prone position for the prevention of lung infection
From the Intensive Care Unit, Centre Hospitalier, Roanne, France
Pulmonary infection is frequent in brain injured patients. It has been identified as an independent predictor of unfavorable neurological outcome, calling for attempts of prevention. We recently evaluated intermittent prone positioning for the prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) in comatose brain injured patients, in a randomized study. 25 patients were included in the prone position (PP) group: they were positioned on prone four hours once daily until they could get up to sit in an armchair; 26 patients were included in the supine position (SP) group. The main characteristics of the patients from the two groups were similar at randomization. The primary end-point was the incidence of lung worsening, defined by an increase in the Lung Injury Score by at least one point since the time of randomization. The incidence of lung worsening was lower in the PP group (12%) than in the SP group (50%) (p=0.003). The incidence of VAP was 38.4% in the SP group and 20% in the PP group (p=0.14). There was no serious complication attributable to prone positioning. In conclusion, the beneficial effect of prone positioning for prevention of lung infection in brain injured patients is not well established. However, in those patients, prone positioning is able to avoid the worsening of pulmonary function, especially in oxygenation.