What is Proning?

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently issued guidelines on proning for self-care for COVID-19 patients at home. Under the new guidelines, the ministry has advised the COVID-19 patients to practice proning if they are facing breathing difficulties.

Background

The number of COVID-19 cases in India is increasing rapidly. This has put hospitals under stress. Therefore, the doctors have advised self-monitoring of oxygen levels under new the guidelines. If a patient is facing difficulty in breathing, they can lie face down.

What is Proning?

  • Lying face down is called proning.
  • When the oxygen levels of a patient in home isolation falls below 94, he or she can lie on their belly. This helps to improve ventilation and will open the alveolar units.

Guidelines on Proning

  • Four to five pillows are needed for proning. One pillow is placed below the neck, one below the chest and two below the shins. The front of the leg below the knees is called shin.
  • The guideline also states four conditions when proning should not be done. They are pregnancy, major cardiac conditions, deep venous thrombosis and unstable spine, pelvic fractures.
  • Also, proning should not be done for an hour after meals. A patient shall lie in this position up to 16 hours.

Alveolar Units

The Alveoli is the primary structural and functional unit of lungs. There are 500 million alveoli in the human lung. They are tiny sacs.

The oxygen breathed in from the air passes through the alveoli, into the blood and then travels to the tissued through the blood vessels. The Carbon dioxide travels in the blood from the body tissues through alveoli and is then breathed out. Thus, the Alveolar Units play a crucial role in respiration.

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