Elizabeth Rohrs, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC

COVID-19 pneumonia is a specific disease in which severe hypoxemia manifests with normal respiratory system compliance, a combination almost never seen in ARDS. The use of prone positioning has become the recommended method of ARDS management and increasingly in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The physiological mechanisms causing respiratory function improvement with the change from supine to prone position are not yet fully understood. The main physiological aims of prone positioning are to improve oxygenation and respiratory mechanics, to homogenise the pleural pressure gradient and ventilation distribution, to increase lung volume by reducing the amount of atelectatic regions, and to reduce ventilator-associated lung injury. This presentation will describe the escalation of treatment of oxygen therapy to proning in COVID-19 patients, with a focus on current findings and recommendations.

Learning Objectives
At the end of this presentation, attendees will be able to:

  • Understand how COVID-19 is different from ARDS and what that means for treatment and support;
  • Understand the current recommendations around treatment of COVID-19 hypoxia; and
  • Understand why proning has positive effects.