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Critical Care

Open Access

Intermittent prone positioning improves oxygenation but has no influence on outcome in the treatment of post-traumatic lung injury: a prospective, randomized, controlled study

  • RJ Stiletto1,
  • MG Baacke1,
  • G Voggenreiter2,
  • M Aufmkolk3,
  • C Waydhas3,
  • C Ose4,
  • E Bock4,
  • L Gotzen1,
  • D Nast-Kolb3 and
  • U Obertacke2
Critical Care20037(Suppl 2):P170

Published: 3 March 2003


Lung InjurySupine PositionTrauma PatientRespiratory Distress SyndromeAcute Lung Injury

In a randomized trial the effect of a predefined strategy of prone positioning on the duration of mechanical ventilation was evaluated in multiple trauma patients with acute lung injury or acute respiratory distress syndrome. Patients in the prone group (n = 21) were continuously kept prone for at least 8 hours and a maximum of 24 hours per day. Prone positioning was continued until a PaO2:FiO2 ratio of more than 300 was present in the prone as well as the supine position over a period of 48 hours. Patients in the supine group (n = 19) were positioned according to standard care guidelines. The duration of ventilatory support did not differ significantly between the two groups (20 ± 17 days in the prone group and 33 ± 23 days in the supine group). The mean duration of ventilatory support in prone position was 11 ± 5 hours a day. A mean of 7 ± 4 posture changes was applied per patient. One patient in the prone group and three patients in the supine group died due to multiorgan failure (P = 0.33). The PaO2:FiO2 ratio increased significantly more in the prone group than in the supine group in the first 4 days (P = 0.03). Thereafter no significant difference in the PaO2:FiO2 ratio was evident between the two groups. The number of adverse effects was not different between the groups. Therefore, despite an improvement of gas exchange, no clinical outcome benefit was detected.

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Trauma Surgery, Philipps-University Marburg, Marburg, Germany
Department of Trauma Surgery, University Hospital Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany
Department of Trauma Surgery, University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany
Institut of Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology, University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany


© BioMed Central Ltd 2003