THE EFFECT OF BODY POSITION ON PULMONARY FUNCTION IN HEALTHY ADULTS: AN ELECTRIC PROFILING BED ANALYSIS
Objective: Pulmonary function is a vital concern for physiotherapists treating hospitalised patients with respiratory complications because it impacts both mental and physical health (Giltay et al. 2010). As body position can greatly impact lung function, ‘positioning’ is commonly used as a treatment method (Hough 2014). In recent years, electric profiling beds (EPB’s) have been increasingly used in the positioning of hospitalised patients, however no research has yet been published on the effect this has on pulmonary function (Neuberger 2011). This study aims to collect and analyse data about how EPB’s impact pulmonary function and create an evidence base on the topic in the hopes of improving patient respiratory care. Study Design: Twenty healthy subjects, aged 18-30, with no history of respiratory disease or smoking, and a body mass index (BMI) <30 were recruited. Participants were seated for fifteen minutes in three randomly ordered positions: Chair Sitting, and Fowler’s Position and High Sitting in an EPB. Standard pulmonary function testing equipment and guidelines were used to measure peak expiratory flow (PEF), forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory ratio (FER). Results were then analysed using SPSS 23.0. Normality was established using the Shapiro-Wilk test, and Repeated Measures Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was completed to determine differences between data sets. Lastly, post hoc paired t-tests were performed to determine where differences occurred. Results: Descriptive and inferential statistical analysis was used to report on trends found in the data. It was found that PEF and FVC were statistically significantly higher when participants were in the Chair Sitting position. Fowler’s Position and High Sitting in an EPB achieved lower results than Chair Sitting but did not statistically significantly differ from each other. FER did not show statistically significant differences across any position. Conclusions: This study found Chair Sitting to be more beneficial for pulmonary function than Fowler’s Position or High Sitting in an EPB. Chair sitting provided the least obstruction and facilitated the largest lung volumes, while EPB positions comparatively caused lung restriction. This study concluded that positioning in an EPB may not be a substitution for Chair Sitting as a means of increasing pulmonary function.