Can positioning COVID-19 patients on their stomach lead to better outcomes?

Original author: Ana Gajic

Published: July 15, 2020

Source: stmichaelshospital.com


A team of General Internal Medicine (GIM) physicians are investigating whether the simple step of positioning a COVID-19 patient on their stomach can decrease their risk of death and aid their recovery.

Dr. Fahad Razak
Dr. Fahad Razak

The trial, which includes 11 hospitals in Canada and the US, is being led by Dr. Michael Fralick at Mount Sinai Hospital and Dr. Amol Verma and Dr. Fahad Razak of St. Michael’s.


They want to know whether prone positioning – the practice of positioning a patient with COVID-19 on their stomach – helps lower the risk of death and need for mechanical ventilation or supplemental oxygen.

Dr. Michael Fralick
Dr. Michael Fralick

“Many health-care workers have anecdotally noted that flipping a COVID-19 patient to lie on their stomachs improves their oxygen levels,” said


Dr. Fralick, who is also a researcher at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute (LKSKI).


“The study will aim to prove this anecdotal evidence. If a patient who has COVID-19 is hospitalized but they are not critically ill, they will be randomized to either spend time on their stomachs or to receive the standard of care.”

Dr. Travis Carpenter
Dr. Travis Carpenter

“The team at St. Joseph’s has poured their heart and souls into finding the best possible treatments for patients during this pandemic,” said Dr. Travis Carpenter, a GIM Physician and the site study lead at St. Joseph’s. “For each site involved, the real benefit here is the opportunity to better understand how to provide the best care possible to COVID-19 patients.”