Why do doctors position Covid-19 patients on their stomachs?

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Coronavirus Live Updates

Doctors from several countries are finding that placing coronavirus patients in serious conditions on their stomachs gives the patients relief.

This is known as prone positioning; it helps increase the amount of oxygen that’s getting to their lungs, as indicated by CNN.

“We’re saving lives with this, one hundred percent,” said Narasimhan, the regional director for critical care at Northwell Health, which owns 23 hospitals in New York. “It’s such a simple thing to do, and we’ve seen remarkable improvement. We can see it for every single patient.”

“Once you see it work, you want to do it more, and you see it work almost immediately,” added Dr. Kathryn Hibbert, director of the medical ICU at Massachusetts General Hospital.

However, there is a problem in positioning ventilated coronavirus patients on their stomachs.

According to doctors, ventilated patients require more sedation when they’re on their stomachs, which implies that the possibility that the patients stay in the ICU for a longer period is high.

Some hospitals are also placing coronavirus patients who are not in the intensive care unit on their bellies.

“Most are willing to give it a try,” Hibbert said. “How long they stay in that position really varies from person to person, whether they’re comfortable falling asleep in that position, or if they get bored and want to turn over to their backs.”

Rush University Medical Center, are studying whether the stomach position is helpful for patients who are not in need of ventilator to breathe, but sick enough that they need supplemental oxygen delivered through a tube in their nose.

“We’ll see if proning helps, and if so, how long should they be in the prone position,” said David Vines, chair of the cardiopulmonary sciences department at Rush.

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