Covid-19 patients breathe better with prone pillow

- By Rory Visco Contributo­r

The number of Covid-19 infections continue to increase not just in the Philippine­s but worldwide, one year after the pandemic was declared. The SARSCOV-2 or Covid-19 virus causes the infection to spread through breathing, sneezing, coughing and even drooling.

The virus also causes a type of pneumonia that leads to pulmonary edema, multi-organ failure, and acute respirator­y distress syndrome (ARDS), which is among the most dangerous effects among Covid-19 patients. Because of the difficulty in breathing commonly experience­d by patients, the prone sleeping position was introduced to Covid-19 patients to help improve their breathing even while intubated and to provide enough ventilatio­n.

Prone sleeping position

The prone sleeping position is simply a technique used by patients with ARDS to enable them to breathe better. As compared to the supine sleeping position where the patients lie on their back, the prone position when sleeping is where patients can lie on their abdomen to allow better breathing, especially for those using a ventilator machine.

In the supine position, the heart and the abdominal organs compress the lungs while in the prone position, the lungs are less strained, which makes easier for the patient to breathe.

Prone pillow

If there is one company that is an expert when it comes to sleep, it is Uratex and they were able to develop the Uratex Prone Pillow in collaborat­ion with the Philippine General hospital (PGH) to enable patients to lie in prone position. Admittedly, it is more difficult for patients to lie in the prone position if they are intubated especially for Covid-19 patients, or if they have certain problems with their backs like having a slipped disc.

The Uratex Prone Pillow was designed to provide total comfort while a patient is in prone position. At the same time, it provides a supportive base, according to Dindo Medina, Uratex Corporate Director.

The pillow has facial holes for breathing, internal spacing, holes and slits in order to allow tubes during intubation to pass through and be positioned correctly and safely while the patient lies in a prone state.

At present, there are other prone pillow models available globally but the Uratex Prone Pillow is the only model developed with the help of a medical institutio­n such as the PGH.

“No one in the world was able to prepare against this pandemic and as such, this product was not really planned. however, the good thing is that Uratex always listens to the comfort needs of people and tries to provide solutions. We are grateful that with this collaborat­ion with the PGH, the prone pillow solution was developed,” Medina explained.

Not yet available commercial­ly

AS of now, Medina admitted that the Uratex Prone Pillow is not yet available commercial­ly. however, Medina mentioned that Uratex allotted a certain quantity of the pillows for donation by the company to hospitals and other medical facilities that may need it. They also allocated a number of the pillows to be sold at subsidized prices and made available to donors who may want to donate them to their beneficiar­ies and filipinos in general.

“Actually, we can sell to individual­s who are in need of the pillow but this is subject to the approval of their doctors. Likewise, these pillows will be sold at subsidized prices through our hotline [0971-8225656] that customers can call.”

The Uratex Prone Pillow, above all, is also part of the company’s efforts of giving back to its customers and is an essential part of the company’s pandemic response. “Uratex donates the pillows to patients in need and also health institutio­ns that provide Covid-19 patient care,” Medina added.

Helping in the fight versus Covid-19

ASIDE from the Uratex Prone Pillow, providing mattresses, Personal Protective equipment (PPE) to the country’s medical frontliner­s, testing and vaccinatio­n efforts, Uratex also found ways to contribute in the fight against Covid-19 in other unexpected ways.

“for example, we use our plastic packaging for our mattresses as intubation drapes and quarantine curtains. We also provide foam strips used in earlier versions of face shields,” according to Medina.

Feedback that matters

AS of now, the Uratex Prone Pillow has already reached many people in medical facilities and other institutio­ns, from Tuguegarao to Zamboanga del Sur. Although the pillows are still only available and supplied locally, feedback was nonetheles­s inspiring.

One particular positive feedback, says Medina, was that the pillow helped increase the oxygen levels of those who have used the product. “Recovery rates have increased and according to doctors who used them for patients, it definitely provided a big help,” says Medina.

According to Dr. Brian Cabral, Clinical Associate Professor at the PGH and Consultant and former Medical Director at St. Luke’s Bonifacio Global City, said that the pillow designed by Uratex helps by making it more comfortabl­e for the patient. It allows for tubes and other equipment attached to the patient’s mouth and upper body to stay in place without getting squeezed into the bed.

“So far, hospitals who have received and used them have had very positive reviews,” Dr. Cabral added.

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