Patients critically ill with COVID-19 develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and may undergo prone positioning.
To compare the effects of prone positioning on oxygenation, intensive care unit length of stay, and intubation days in patients with COVID-19 ARDS and patients with non–COVID-19 ARDS.
A convenience sample of intubated patients with COVID-19 and moderate to severe ARDS (per Berlin criteria) was compared with historical data from a retrospective, descriptive medical record review of patients with non–COVID-19 ARDS. The historical comparison group was age and sex matched.
Differences in Po2 to fraction of inspired oxygen ratios between the COVID-19 ARDS group (n = 41) and the non-COVID-19 ARDS group (n = 6) during the first 7 days of prone positioning were significant at the end of prone positioning on day 1 (P = .01), day 3 (P = .04), and day 4 (P = .04). Wilcoxon signed-rank tests showed that prone positioning had a positive impact on Po2 to fraction of inspired oxygen ratios from day 1 through day 6 in the COVID-19 ARDS group and on day 2 in the non–COVID-19 ARDS group.
This retrospective review found greater improvement in oxygenation in the COVID-19 ARDS group than in the non–COVID-19 ARDS group. This finding may be attributed to the assertive prone positioning protocol during the pandemic and teams whose skills and training were likely enhanced by the pandemic demand. Prone positioning did not affect intensive care unit length of stay or intubation days in either group.