JOURNAL ARTICLE

Prone Positioning for Pregnant Women With Hypoxemia Due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Mary Catherine Tolcher, Jennifer R McKinney, Catherine S Eppes, David Muigai, Amir Shamshirsaz, Kalpalatha K Guntupalli, Joseph L Nates
Obstetrics and Gynecology 2020, 136 (2): 259-261
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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has prompted expanded use of prone positioning for refractory hypoxemia. Clinical trials have demonstrated beneficial effects of early prone positioning for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), including decreased mortality. However, pregnant women were excluded from these trials. To address the need for low-cost, low-harm interventions in the face of a widespread viral syndrome wherein hypoxemia predominates, we developed an algorithm for prone positioning of both intubated and nonintubated pregnant women. This algorithm may be appropriate for a wide spectrum of hypoxemia severity among pregnant women. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus is responsible for the clinical manifestations of COVID-19. This syndrome can manifest as severe pneumonia complicated by hypoxemia and ARDS. Given the current global COVID-19 pandemic, with a large number of ARDS cases, there is renewed interest in the use of prone positioning to improve oxygenation in moderate or severe hypoxemia. Among the populations who can benefit from prone positioning are pregnant women experiencing severe respiratory distress, as long as the physiologic changes and risks of pregnancy are taken into account.

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