Patients with covid-19 in serious condition are showing significant improvement due to a technique that has recently started to be applied in North American hospitals: lying face down.
Even though it seems unlikely that something so simple will have such beneficial effects, this technique has proved effective most of the time when it was used. As CNN reports, this treatment was first applied to patients with covid-19 at Jewish Hospital on Long Island.
The first case of success happened last Friday (10), after a patient was placed face down by order of Northwell Health regional director of intensive care, Mangala Narasimhan. The patient, who was going to the ICU, had an almost instant improvement, and other hospitals began testing the technique.
According to doctors, this technique causes oxygen levels in patients’ lungs to rise. In the first case in which it was used, for example, the O2 levels in the patient’s body jumped from 85% to 98%.
Dr. Mangala Narasimhan’s suggestion was based on a French study of patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) published in 2013 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
At the time, the researchers found that patients with ARDS who needed pulmonary respirators were more likely to survive if they were facedown. After the study was released, several North American hospitals started using this technique with ARDS patients.
The rationale for its application in the treatment of patients with covid-19 lies in the fact that most of the clinical conditions progress to ARDS or to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Despite the positive results, the position can be somewhat uncomfortable and even painful for patients who are already suffering from the disease. In addition, this technique can make ICU patients stay longer in intensive care, due to the need to use sedatives.
Now, researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago are trying to discover the effectiveness of this treatment in patients with less severe conditions.