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Thomas Stubington

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Introduction COVID 19 in particular affects the lungs causing an ARDS type picture resulting in an atypical form of ARDS whereby there is disproportionately poor oxygenation despite reasonably preserved lung compliance in the early stages 1. Experience from Italy and China suggests that nursing the patient in a prone position is potentially beneficial and can improve outcomes when carried out in the early stages of the disease1,2. This has resulted in its inclusion in several international guidelines and adoption around the world as a valid intervention for COVID 19 patients3Proning is not a new phenomenon and has been used as a treatment option for ARDS for over 20 years. It is not without complications and as well as the displacement of tubes and lines, the exacerbation of existing traumas or dehiscence of surgical wounds there are also reports of pressure necrosis secondary to prone positioning particularly of the face and nose4A cochrane review in 2015 concluded that prone ventilation was directly responsible for an increased risk of pressure sores5There is some suggestion that the pressure damage caused by proning occurs regardless of preventative measures put in place (such as foam supports and measures to relieve pressure)4But it also seems that this pressure damage is often mild and self resolving6. Regular repositioning of the head may also reduce pressure damage accordingly7Given that larger numbers of patients are likely to be proned and that proning is directly linked to pressure damage to the face and nose it would seem logical that this would represent an increase in referrals to ENT to assess this. Anecdotally this is the case in our department where we have received several such calls having never previously encountered this complication in routine practice. Although patients should be proned with the head turned to one side to avoid such pressure damage8 due to the highly unstable nature of COVID 19 patients and in some cases limited cervical spine rotation inevitably some patients will end up in positions where there nose is at risk. We present our approach to the management of these injuries borrowing from theory and practice used to manage patients having undergone rhinological procedures.