25 September 2021

What is Proning and How to breathe better when Oxygen level drops?

1 min read

  • The COVID-19 pandemic forced people to look for methods, old and new, to ease the distress of those who struggled to breathe in this primarily respiratory disease.
  • With the second wave in India making family and friends of patients run desperately seeking Oxygen cylinders and O2 beds, proning can help the patient sustain till hospital arrangements are made.
  • Those in home isolation due to mild cases can also benefit from proning technique of breathing done by lying on the stomach instead of the back.

As the coronavirus pandemic progressed and patients struggled to breathe, hospitals across the world learned that very sick patients were able to breathe better when they were flipped onto their stomachs. ‘Proning’ is a medically accepted position to improve breathing comfort and oxygenation in COVID-19 patients. 

This positioning, called proning (or prone-positioning), has been used for decades to improve clinical outcomes for those suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), the lung condition that patients with severe COVID-19 cases develop, reports Scientific American.

How to breathe in proning positions?
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has tweeted about the correct way to achieve the benefits of proning.

If the patient is on oxygen support, then turn the head to the left/right side and continue O2 support.
Place the pillows under the head, chest, and pelvis for support but the abdomen should not be compressed.

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