Prone positioning in acute respiratory distress syndrome: a multicenter randomized clinical trial

Intensive Care Med. 2008 Aug;34(8):1487-91. doi: 10.1007/s00134-008-1119-3. Epub 2008 Apr 22.


Objective: We examined the effect on survival of prone positioning as an early and continuous treatment in ARDS patients already treated with protective ventilation.

Design and setting: Open randomized controlled trial in 17 medical-surgical ICUs.

Patients: Forty mechanically ventilated patients with early and refractory ARDS despite protective ventilation in the supine position.

Interventions: Patients were randomized to remain supine or be moved to early (within 48[Symbol: see text]h) and continuous (> or = 20 h/day) prone position until recovery or death. The trial was prematurely stopped due to a low patient recruitment rate.

Measurements and results: Clinical characteristics, oxygenation, lung pressures, and hemodynamics were monitored. Need for sedation, complications, length of MV, ICU, and hospital stays, and outcome were recorded. PaO(2)/FIO(2) tended to be higher in prone than in supine patients after 6[Symbol: see text]h (202 +/-78 vs. 165+/-70 mmHg); this difference reached statistical significance on day 3 (234+/-85 vs. 159+/-78). Prone-related side effects were minimal and reversible. Sixty-day survival reached the targeted 15% absolute increase in prone patients (62% vs. 47%) but failed to reach significance due to the small sample.

Conclusions: Our study adds data that reinforce the suggestion of a beneficial effect of early continuous prone positioning on survival in ARDS patients.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prone Position
  • Respiration, Artificial*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / classification
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / mortality
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / therapy*
  • Severity of Illness Index