Head-of-Bed Elevation Improves End-Expiratory Lung Volumes in Mechanically Ventilated Subjects: A Prospective Observational Study
Amy J Spooner, Amanda Corley, Nicola A Sharpe, Adrian G Barnett, Lawrence R Caruana, Naomi E Hammond and John F Fraser
Respiratory Care October 2014, 59 (10) 1583-1589; DOI:
BACKGROUND: Head-of-bed elevation (HOBE) has been shown to assist in reducing respiratory complications associated with mechanical ventilation; however, there is minimal research describing changes in end-expiratory lung volume. This study aims to investigate changes in end-expiratory lung volume in a supine position and 2 levels of HOBE.
METHODS: Twenty postoperative cardiac surgery subjects were examined using electrical impedance tomography. End-expiratory lung impedance (EELI) was recorded as a surrogate measurement of end-expiratory lung volume in a supine position and at 20° and then 30°.
RESULTS: Significant increases in end-expiratory lung volume were seen at both 20° and 30° HOBE in all lung regions, except the anterior, with the largest changes from baseline (supine) seen at 30°. From baseline to 30° HOBE, global EELI increased by 1,327 impedance units (95% CI 1,080–1,573, P < .001). EELI increased by 1,007 units (95% CI 880–1,134, P < .001) in the left lung region and by 320 impedance units (95% CI 188–451, P < .001) in the right lung. Posterior increases of 1,544 impedance units (95% CI 1,405–1,682, P < .001) were also seen. EELI decreased anteriorly, with the largest decreases occurring at 30° (−335 impedance units, 95% CI −486 to −183, P < .001).
CONCLUSIONS: HOBE significantly increases global and regional end-expiratory lung volume; therefore, unless contraindicated, all mechanically ventilated patients should be positioned with HOBE.