CCP Podcast 036: Head of Bed Elevation and Reflux.

 January 23

by Jonathan Downham

Lynn Schallom is a research scientist at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. She published a paper ‘Head of Bed Elevation and Early Outcomes of Gastric Reflux, Aspiration, and Pressure Ulcers’ in the American Journal of Critical Care in January 2015.

Head of Bed Elevation

There is a conflict between the need to keep a patients head elevated to reduce the incidence of oesophageal reflux and consequent pneumonia, and the prevention of pressure ulcers. Can we do both? In her very small study Lynn seems to show that head of bed elevation is important and that we can. She also highlights some other areas of concern, one of which is the use of the trendelenberg position when sliding patients up the bed. This would seem to put patients at increased risk of aspiration as their secretions are encouraged to run in the ‘wrong’ direction!

I also recorded a quick video to further break down the study so you can watch that here if you wish.


The Intensive Care Society State of the Art Conference is coming soon and I am quite involved with it this year. If you want to know more this is where you can find the full programme. If you come along I would be happy to meet you and even get an interview out of you. I hope I don’t see a lot of people dodging behind pillars when they see me because of that threat!

I was also at the ACP Conference held by the Heart of England Foundation Trust and recorded some of the presentations I was hoping to be able to live stream using Periscope but as the meeting was sponsored by a drug company this was not possible. The video is below.


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