Prone positioning of ventilated patients during air medical evacuation: A case series

Christopher Naples, Peter S. Micalos, Tania Johnston, Rob Schlamp, Floyd Besserer, Eric Vu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to investigate patient safety implications of transporting prone-positioned mechanically ventilated patients in the air medical environment (AME).
A retrospective health record review of patient encounters from 2019 to 2021 was conducted using British Columbia Emergency Health Services air medical electronic patient care reports.
A total of 633 patients were identified as intubated, mechanically ventilated, and transported by British Columbia Emergency Health Services air medical teams. Ten patients were identified as having been transported in the prone position. Oxygen saturation, arterial blood oxygen levels, and carbon dioxide measurements from 8 cases indicated that patients remained stable or improved during transport. Cardiovascular episodes including hypotension and tachycardia were observed. In 2 patients, a mean 17.5% decline in oxygen saturation was identified. It could not be determined if this was a result of prone positioning during AME or due to a deteriorating physiological condition related to the patient's underlying disease. There were no identified tube dislodgments during AME transport.
Although proning did not compromise patient safety with respect to tube or line displacement in our study, we cannot draw definitive conclusions regarding the safety implications of proning on patient vital signs during transport.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-59
Number of pages5
JournalAir Medical Journal
Issue number1
Early online date08 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


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