Patient position not critical for oxygenation after single-lung transplantation

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – After single-lung transplantation, patients can be safely turned within 24 hours after surgery, since no one position appears to maximize oxygenation, researchers report in the January issue of the American Journal of Critical Care.

Dr. Elisabeth L. George, from the University of Pittsburgh Health System, and colleagues studied the effect of three different body positions on oxygenation in 15 patients who underwent single-lung transplantation.

Patients were randomly assigned to be placed supine, lateral with the transplanted lung down, or lateral with native lung down. Regardless of position, oxygenation variables did not significantly change, the researchers found. This was also the case for ventilation and blood flow.

"One ideal position cannot be found for maximizing oxygenation in recipients of a single lung in the immediate postoperative period, as has been done for patients with unilateral lung disease," the investigators note.

"Although a single standard protocol for positioning cannot be supported," Dr. George and colleagues believe the results "support the idea that recipients of a single lung can be safely turned in the immediate postoperative period without compromising oxygenation or hemodynamic status."

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