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Clinical Investigations in Critical Care |

4A Randomized Trial of Prolonged Prone Positioning in Children With Acute Respiratory Failure*

Alik Kornecki, MD; Helena Frndova, PhD; Allan L. Coates, MD; Sam D. Shemie, MD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Department of Critical Care Medicine (Drs. Kornecki, Frndova, and Shemie), Division of Respiratory Medicine (Dr. Coates), Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Correspondence to: Sam D. Shemie, MD, Department of Critical Care Medicine, Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Ave, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1X8; e-mail: sshemie@sickkids.on.ca



Chest. 2001;119(1):211-218. doi:10.1378/chest.119.1.211
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Study objective: To compare the effect of the prone position (PP) vs supine position (SP) on oxygenation in children with acute respiratory failure (ARF).

Design: Prospective, randomized controlled trial.

Setting: A 36-bed pediatric critical-care unit in a tertiary-care, university-based children’s hospital.

Patients: Ten children (mean[ SD] age, 5 ± 3.6 years) with ARF with a baseline oxygenation index (OI) of 22 ± 8.5.

Interventions: Following a period of stabilization in the SP, baseline data were collected and patients were randomized to one of two groups in a two-crossover study design: group 1, supine/prone sequence; group 2, prone/supine sequence. Each position was maintained for 12 h. Lung mechanics and acute response to inhaled nitric oxide were examined in each position.

Measurements and main results: OI was significantly better in the PP compared to the SP over the 12-h period (analysis of variance, p = 0.0016). When patients were prone, a significant improvement in OI was detected (7.9 ± 5.3; p = 0.002); this improvement occurred early (within 2 h in 9 of 10 patients) and was sustained over the 12-h study period. Static respiratory system compliance and resistance were not significantly affected by the position change. Inhaled nitric oxide had no effect on oxygenation in either position. Urine output increased while prone, resulting in a significantly improved fluid balance (+ 6.6 ± 15.2 mL/kg/12 h in PP vs + 18.9 ± 13.6 mL/kg/12 h in SP; p = 0.041). No serious adverse effects were detected in the PP.

Conclusion: In children with ARF, oxygenation is significantly superior in the PP than in the SP. This improvement occurs early, remains sustained for a 12-h period, and is independent of changes in lung mechanics.

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