The effect of prone positioning on pressure injury incidence in adult intensive care unit patients: A meta-review of systematic reviews

Publication Name

Australian Critical Care


Objective: Numerous systematic reviews have examined the impact of prone positioning on outcomes, including pressure injury (PI). The objective of this meta-review was to synthesise the evidence on the effect of prone positioning on the incidence and location of PIs in adult intensive care unit patients. Review method: This is a meta-review of published systematic reviews. Five databases were searched; data were extracted by three authors and adjudicated by a fourth. The AMSTAR-2 tool was used to quality appraise the selected articles, which was completed by three authors with a fourth adjudicating. Results: Ten systematic reviews were synthesised. The cumulative incidence of PI in 15,979 adult patients ranged from 25.7% to 48.5%. One study did not report adult numbers. Only one review reported the secondary outcome of PI location. PIs were identified in 13 locations such as the face, chest, iliac crest, and knees. Using the AMSTAR-2, three reviews were assessed as high quality, six as moderate quality, and one as low quality. Conclusion: The high incidence of PI in the prone position highlights the need for targeted preventative strategies. Care bundles may be one approach, given their beneficial effects for the prevention of PI in other populations. This review highlights the need for proactive approaches to limit unintended consequences of the use of the prone position, especially notable in the current COVID-19 pandemic.

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