Background: Prone position has been used for several years to treat acute lung insufficiency, but in previous studies patients with unstable intracranial pressure (ICP) are mostly excluded. The aim of this study was to investigate if prone position is a safe and useful treatment in patients with reduced intracranial compliance.
Methods: A consecutive, prospective pilot study of 11 patients admitted to the neuro intensive care unit (NICU) due to traumatic brain injury or intracerebral haemorrhage. ICP, cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP), heart rate (HR), mean arterial blood pressure (MABP), arterial partial pressure of oxygen (PaO(2)), arterial partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PaCO(2)), arterial oxygen saturation (SaO(2)) and respiratory system compliance were measured before, three times during and two times after the patients were placed in the prone position.
Results: No significant changes were demonstrated in ICP, CPP or MABP. PaO(2) and SaO(2) were significantly increased in the prone position. HR was significantly increased in the prone position and after 10 min in the supine post-prone position and the respiratory system compliance was increased after 1 h in the supine post-prone position.
Conclusion: Turning NICU patients from the supine to the prone position did not influence ICP, CPP or MABP, but significantly improved patient PaO(2), SaO(2) and respiratory system compliance.