Lung ultrasound to predict gas-exchange response to prone positioning in COVID-19 patients: A prospective study in pilot and confirmation cohorts

M. L.A. Heldeweg, A. Mousa, J. van Ekeren, A. W.E. Lieveld, R. S. Walburgh-Schmidt, J. M. Smit, M. E. Haaksma, H. J. de Grooth, L. M.A. Heunks, P. R. Tuinman

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Purpose: To examine whether lung ultrasound prior to prone positioning can predict the resulting gas-exchange response. Materials and methods: This is a prospective observational study on critically-ill COVID-19 patients with a pilot and confirmation cohort. Lung ultrasound examinations were performed before prone positioning and gas-exchange parameters were recorded before and after position change. Results: A total of 79 patients, 36 in the pilot cohort and 43 in the confirmation cohort, were included. In the pilot cohort, a moderate correlation between pre-turn lung ultrasound score index (LUSI) and change in PaO2/FiO2 after prone positioning was found. These findings were corroborated and extended upon in the confirmation cohort. The confirmation cohort found that anterior LUSI had the strongest correlation with follow-up time-points 1, 6, 12, and 24 h after prone positioning, with strength of correlation gradually increasing up to 24 h. In a multivariate model anterior aeration loss (odds ratio 0.035; 95%CI 0.003–0.319 for anterior LUSI >50%) and higher pre-turn PaCO2 (odds ratio 0.479 95% CI 0.235–0.979) were negatively predictive of a PaO2/FiO2 increase ≥20 mmHg. Conclusions: Anterior LUSI, in addition to other clinical parameters, may be used to aid COVID-19 respiratory strategy and a clinician's decision to prone.

Original languageEnglish
Article number154173
JournalJournal of critical care
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • COVID-19
  • Lung
  • Prone position
  • Respiratory distress syndrome
  • Ultrasonography

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