Turning Covid-19 patients face down could save lives

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Turning Covid-19 patients face down could save lives
Turning Covid-19 patients face down could save lives Credit: Pixabay

Turning Covid-19 patients face down could save lives, according to experts.

A new clinical trial was carried out across six countries and 42 hospitals including two hospitals in Spain; the Vall d’Hebron and the Hospital del Mar. The study has shown that placing Covid patients face down can reduce the need for intubation and could save lives.

The study has been published today, Tuesday August 24 in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. This major new study is the first to look at how patients can benefit from positions being changed. The results of the study could see clinical practices changed for patients suffering from COVID 19 who are not intubated.

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Even before the clinical trial was started Dr Jordi Mancebo, director of the Intensive Care Department at the Hospital de Sant Pau in Barcelona was using this technique. According to the Doctor, 80 per cent of Covid patients in the hospital’s ICU were already placed in this manner.

As reported 20 minutes, “Now, this international study, coordinated by the Hospital de Tours (France), has for the first time empirically corroborated something that many intesivists had already proven: that placing the patient face down improves the evolution of patients with severe COVID-19 treated with high-flow oxygen therapy.”

According to the medical coordinator of the ICU at Vall d’Hebron Hospital, Oriol Roca: “Scientific evidence of the efficacy of this technique in non-intubated patients is especially important during the peaks of the pandemic when there may be a shortage of ventilators. This is the first major study to analyse the benefits of a change of position in awake patients who do not need a ventilator, i.e. who breathe spontaneously on their own, as part of treatment in COVID-19 patients.”


Alex Glenn is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News. Formerly she worked in the NHS for 15 years until relocating to Spain in 2018. She loves the Spanish lifestyle, language and culture and spent several years learning Spanish before moving to Spain for a better quality of life. She has made her home in the mountains in Almeria, where she loves being part of a rural community that has a mix of both expats and Spanish residents. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading and exploring the area where she lives.

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