Use of Dexmedetomidine in Early Prone Positioning Combined With High-Flow Nasal Cannula and Non-Invasive Positive Pressure Ventilation in a COVID-19 Positive Patient


North Florida


Orange Park Medical Center

Document Type

Case Report

Publication Date



sars-cov-2, COVID-19, prone positioning, self prone, ards (acute respiratory distress syndrome), covid-19 respiratory failure, high flow nasal cannula, non-invasive positive pressure ventilation, dexmedetomidine


Critical Care | Infectious Disease | Internal Medicine | Pulmonology | Virus Diseases


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to manifest in our society, we still lack evidence-based treatment guidelines. Current treatment for COVID-19 pneumonia has been modeled from currently established guidelines such as that of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). COVID-19 pneumonia, also known as SARS-CoV-2, is characterized by severe hypoxia and near-normal respiratory system compliance with a time-related presentation. Dexmedetomidine is a centrally acting alpha-2 receptor agonist that promotes sedative and anxiolytic effects without the risk of respiratory depression and can provide cooperative or semi-rousable sedation. Patients who are developing ARDS secondary to COVID-19 pneumonia have been treated with self-proning intervals in combination with supplementation of oxygenation via high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) or non-invasive positive pressure ventilation (NIPPV); however, a few patients have poor tolerance to the devices, leading to poor compliance and eventual worsening respiratory symptoms leading to intubation. In the current case report, we detail how a patient was able to successfully be self-proned with proper tolerance to HFNC and NIPPV while using dexmedetomidine, leading to discharge without the need for further oxygen supplementation at home.

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