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BACKGROUND: We studied prone positioning effects on lung aeration in spontaneously breathing invasively ventilated patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). METHODS: changes in lung aeration were studied prospectively by electrical impedance tomography (EIT) from before to after placing the patient prone, and back to supine. Mixed effect models with a random intercept and only fixed effects were used to evaluate changes in lung aeration. RESULTS: fifteen spontaneously breathing invasively ventilated patients were enrolled, and remained prone for a median of 19 [17 to 21] hours. At 16 h the global inhomogeneity index was lower. At 2 h, there were neither changes in dorsal nor in ventral compliance; after 16 h, only dorsal compliance (βFe +18.9 [95% Confidence interval (CI): 9.1 to 28.8]) and dorsal end-expiratory lung impedance (EELI) were increased (βFe, +252 [95% CI: 13 to 496]); at 2 and 16 h, dorsal silent spaces was unchanged (βFe, -4.6 [95% CI: -12.3 to +3.2]). The observed changes induced by prone positioning disappeared after turning patients back to supine. CONCLUSIONS: in this cohort of spontaneously breathing invasively ventilated COVID-19 patients, prone positioning decreased inhomogeneity, increased lung volumes, and improved dorsal compliance.

Original publication




Journal article


Diagnostics (Basel)

Publication Date





acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), alveolar distention, end-expiratory lung impedance, global inhomogeneity index, intensive care images, mechanical ventilation, recruitment, silent spaces