July 29, 2005

Study debunks sleep-position theory

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photo by Heather Bryant, Paris Post-Intelligencer

Study debunks sleep-position theory

A popular theory that children on ventilators should lie on their stomachs to improve lung function may have been disproved following research done, in part, at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Results of the multi-center study appeared in the July issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Jade Forlidas, R.N., coordinated data collection at VUMC with the help of PCCU nursing staff for the duration of the three-year study. Rick Barr, M.D., associate professor of Pediatrics, is listed as one of the study's authors.

The article authors said it had been theorized that prone positioning (stomach down) can improve the pressures inside the lungs during ventilation, reducing the risk of lung injury and even helping children get off of ventilators sooner.

The results did not support the theory.

Seven pediatric critical care units across the country took part in the study, which enrolled 102 children, between 2 weeks and 18 years old.

The study was stopped early when there was no difference in the recovery times between the prone and the supine-positioned patients.