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February 1988

Lateral Positioning of the Stable Ventilated Very-Low-Birth-Weight Infant: Effect on Transcutaneous Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide

Am J Dis Child. 1988;142(2):200-202. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150020102039

• Eighteen stable very-low-birth-weight (VLBW) mechanically ventilated infants with chronic lung disease were studied to examine the effects of right and left lateral positioning in contrast to supine positioning on transcutaneous (tc) oxygen (tcPo2) and carbon dioxide measurements (tcPco2). The neonates were studied at a median postnatal age of 31 days (range, 17 to 57 days) and had median birth weights and gestational ages of 975 g (range, 570 to 1360 g) and 27.5 weeks (range, 24 to 30 weeks), respectively. Median fraction of inspiratory oxygen was 0.32 (range, 0.23 to 0.40). The sequence of study positions was randomly determined. Sleep state as well as tcPo2 and tcPco2 were recorded every 30 s for five minutes. A significant difference in mean tcPo2 or tcPco2 was not detected for any of the positions. Lateral positioning may facilitate the development of midline behavior in VLBW infants. Care givers are often reluctant to position infants in side lying, however, because of concerns that ventilation or oxygenation might be compromised. We conclude that placing the stable VLBW mechanically ventilated infant in a side-lying position has no deleterious effects on oxygenation and ventilation, as measured by tcPo2 and tcPco2, and therefore should be encouraged.

(AJDC 1988;142:200-202)