Thousands of patients suffering from severe cases of Covid-19 are experiencing a simple treatment in hospitals throughout the world: They are being placed face-down on their hospital bed in a practice known as proning. This change in position is often enough to improve lung functionality and reduce the impact of respiratory distress caused by Covid-19.
Proning — or placing a patient face down — minimizes the effects of gravity on the lungs. In this position, the heart no longer weighs heavily on the lung tissue, but instead rests against the sternum. Lung tissue at the back of the thoracic cavity is relieved of the burden of gravity and is more capable of expansion and gas exchange.