Rotational therapy in thoracic injuries: what is the evidence?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To review the current use of continuous lateral rotational therapy (CLRT) in patients with thoracic injuries and its impact on clinical course, complications and outcome.

Recent findings

Patient positioning is a key factor in the treatment of severe thoracic injuries and CLRT, and intermittent supine and prone position are basic options. There is a lack of randomized controlled studies for trauma patients with chest injury undergoing kinetic therapy as standard of care. A positive effect of kinetic therapy for prevention of secondary respiratory complications has been reported; nevertheless, no positive effect on mortality or length of hospital stay could be affirmed so far. In general, standardized therapeutic regimes for treatment of chest trauma have been implemented, including ventilator settings and positioning therapy. However, the available data do not allow a clear recommendation for rotational/kinetic therapy or prone positioning as superior or inferior.

Summary

The benefit of changing the patients’ position for secret mobilization and recruitment of atelectasis after chest trauma and therefore preventing secondary complications seems to be self-evident. Since only few studies report about the utility of CLRT in critically ill chest trauma patients, randomized controlled multicenter trials are necessary to analyze the overall benefit of such means.

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