What Is Proning? How It Can Help COVID Patients?

by Shatakshi Gupta

Reports of death are coming from all over the country due to lack of Medical oxygen. In such a situation, the Ministry of Health of the Central Government has advised the patients suffering from COVID-19 to lie in a Prone position or Proning to increase the level of oxygen in the body.

Proning is useful for people whose infections have damaged the lungs and are having trouble breathing. 

What is Proning?

Proning is simply lying on the stomach. By doing this, positive pressure is created on the lungs and the lack of oxygen in the body is removed. This is a medically certified method. For some time, many doctors had issued a video on WhatsApp and advised to adopt it. Now the Health Ministry has also issued an advisory to adopt this method.

Also read: Do Covid Survivors need only 1 Shot of a 2-Dose Vaccine??

Why it is a boon for COVID patients?

The pressure on the lungs is also affected by the way you lie. This determines how much air is going into your lungs. In hospitals, the patient is often reclined on the back and doing so puts pressure on gravity and other organs in the lungs.  This suppresses the lungs and oxygen does not reach them properly. This causes a lack of oxygen.

Besides, 25% air sacs of our lungs remain inactive. These inactive sacs become active in the prone position, which ultimately increases the oxygen level in the body.

Proning is a very old and scientifically proven method.  In many countries, this method has been tried on patients suffering from respiratory diseases. This has yielded positive results.

What Health Ministry says about this?

As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Prone positioning improves ventilation, keeps alveolar units open and breathing easy.

However, proning is required only when the patient feels difficulty in breathing and the SpO2 decreases below 94.

Advisory further says that regular monitoring of SpO2, along with other signs likeTemperature, blood pressure and blood sugar, is important during home isolation.Missing out on hypoxia may lead to worsening of complications. Many lives can be saved by timely proning and maintaining good ventilation.

Also read: Big Announcement: Indian Govt. Has Opened Door For Vaccination Of People Above 18

Which people are not advised to do proning?

MoHFW issues a list of conditions, under which people are not advised to do proning. These conditions are:

  • Pregnancy
  • Deep venous thrombosis
  • Major cardiac conditions
  • Unstable spine, femur, or pelvic fractures
What do you need to keep in mind while proning?

Health Ministry lists out some cautions you need to follow:

  • Avoid proning for an hour after meals.
  • Maintain proning for only as much times as easily tolerable.
  • One may prone for up to 16 hours a day, in multiple cycles, as felt comfortable.
  • Pillows may be adjusted slightly to alter pressure areas and for comfort.
  • Keep a track of any pressure sores or injuries, especially, around bony prominence.