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Prone position for acute respiratory failure in adults

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, November 2015
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (94th percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (75th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 blog
1 policy source
36 tweeters
2 Facebook pages


46 Dimensions

Readers on

239 Mendeley
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Prone position for acute respiratory failure in adults
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, November 2015
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd008095.pub2
Pubmed ID

Roxanna Bloomfield, David W Noble, Alexis Sudlow


Acute hypoxaemia de novo or on a background of chronic hypoxaemia is a common reason for admission to intensive care and for provision of mechanical ventilation. Various refinements of mechanical ventilation or adjuncts are employed to improve patient outcomes. Mortality from acute respiratory distress syndrome, one of the main contributors to the need for mechanical ventilation for hypoxaemia, remains approximately 40%. Ventilation in the prone position may improve lung mechanics and gas exchange and could improve outcomes. The objectives of this review are (1) to ascertain whether prone ventilation offers a mortality advantage when compared with traditional supine or semi recumbent ventilation in patients with severe acute respiratory failure requiring conventional invasive artificial ventilation, and (2) to supplement previous systematic reviews on prone ventilation for hypoxaemic respiratory failure in an adult population. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL; 2014, Issue 1), Ovid MEDLINE (1950 to 31 January 2014), EMBASE (1980 to 31 January 2014), the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) (1982 to 31 January 2014) and Latin American Caribbean Health Sciences Literature (LILACS) (1992 to 31 January 2014) in Ovid MEDLINE for eligible randomized controlled trials. We also searched for studies by handsearching reference lists of relevant articles, by contacting colleagues and by handsearching published proceedings of relevant journals. We applied no language constraints, and we reran the searches in CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and LILACS in June 2015. We added five new studies of potential interest to the list of "Studies awaiting classification" and will incorporate them into formal review findings during the review update. We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the effects of prone position versus supine/semi recumbent position during conventional mechanical ventilation in adult participants with acute hypoxaemia. Two review authors independently reviewed all trials identified by the search and assessed them for suitability, methods and quality. Two review authors extracted data, and three review authors reviewed the data extracted. We analysed data using Review Manager software and pooled included studies to determine the risk ratio (RR) for mortality and the risk ratio or mean difference (MD) for secondary outcomes; we also performed subgroup analyses and sensitivity analyses. We identified nine relevant RCTs, which enrolled a total of 2165 participants (10 publications). All recruited participants suffered from disorders of lung function causing moderate to severe hypoxaemia and requiring mechanical ventilation, so they were fairly comparable, given the heterogeneity of specific disease diagnoses in intensive care. Risk of bias, although acceptable in the view of the review authors, was inevitable: Blinding of participants and carers to treatment allocation was not possible (face-up vs face-down).Primary analyses of short- and longer-term mortality pooled from six trials demonstrated an RR of 0.84 to 0.86 in favour of the prone position (PP), but findings were not statistically significant: In the short term, mortality for those ventilated prone was 33.4% (363/1086) and supine 38.3% (395/1031). This resulted in an RR of 0.84 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.69 to 1.02) marginally in favour of PP. For longer-term mortality, results showed 41.7% (462/1107) for prone and 47.1% (490/1041) for supine positions, with an RR of 0.86 (95% CI 0.72 to 1.03). The quality of the evidence for both outcomes was rated as low as a result of important potential bias and serious inconsistency.Subgroup analyses for mortality identified three groups consistently favouring PP: those recruited within 48 hours of meeting entry criteria (five trials; 1024 participants showed an RR of 0.75 (95% CI 0.59 to 94)); those treated in the PP for 16 or more hours per day (five trials; 1005 participants showed an RR of 0.77 (95% CI 0.61 to 0.99)); and participants with more severe hypoxaemia at trial entry (six trials; 1108 participants showed an RR of 0.77 (95% CI 0.65 to 0.92)). The quality of the evidence for these outcomes was rated as moderate as a result of potentially important bias.Prone positioning appeared to influence adverse effects: Pressure sores (three trials; 366 participants) with an RR of 1.37 (95% CI 1.05 to 1.79) and tracheal tube obstruction with an RR of 1.78 (95% CI 1.22 to 2.60) were increased with prone ventilation. Reporting of arrhythmias was reduced with PP, with an RR of 0.64 (95% CI 0.47 to 0.87). We found no convincing evidence of benefit nor harm from universal application of PP in adults with hypoxaemia mechanically ventilated in intensive care units (ICUs). Three subgroups (early implementation of PP, prolonged adoption of PP and severe hypoxaemia at study entry) suggested that prone positioning may confer a statistically significant mortality advantage. Additional adequately powered studies would be required to confirm or refute these possibilities of subgroup benefit but are unlikely, given results of the most recent study and recommendations derived from several published subgroup analyses. Meta-analysis of individual patient data could be useful for further data exploration in this regard. Complications such as tracheal obstruction are increased with use of prone ventilation. Long-term mortality data (12 months and beyond), as well as functional, neuro-psychological and quality of life data, are required if future studies are to better inform the role of PP in the management of hypoxaemic respiratory failure in the ICU.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 239 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 1 <1%
Denmark 1 <1%
Germany 1 <1%
Italy 1 <1%
Unknown 235 98%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 38 16%
Student > Bachelor 31 13%
Researcher 29 12%
Other 21 9%
Student > Postgraduate 21 9%
Other 49 21%
Unknown 50 21%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 109 46%
Nursing and Health Professions 46 19%
Social Sciences 7 3%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 4 2%
Psychology 4 2%
Other 11 5%
Unknown 58 24%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 32. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 28 March 2020.
All research outputs
of 14,570,975 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 11,003 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 283,704 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 240 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 14,570,975 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 95th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,003 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 22.3. This one has done well, scoring higher than 84% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 283,704 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 94% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 240 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 75% of its contemporaries.