Poor patient positioning can lead to vision loss

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Perioperative vision loss is a devastating complication that has been reported in spine and other surgeries requiring prone patient positioning.1 Although the condition is rare, its incidence is on the rise, prompting the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) to form a task force to study the issue and find ways to decrease its occurrence.2

 

The most common cause of post-operative vision loss is ischemicoptic neuropathy, which can be attributed to a number of factors including poor patient positioning.1 The task force advised that patients should be positioned in such a way that the “head is level with or higher than the heart when possible and maintained in a neutral forward position.” The group also advocated frequent eye assessments during surgery, as several studies have linked increased intraocular pressure to vision loss.2

 

Positioned for Safety

 

To minimize the risk of post-operative vision loss, be sure to choose a safe, reliable patient positioner before you operate. AliMed, an industry leader in patient positioning and pressure redistribution, offers an array of head and neck positioners that meet stringent standards for patient protection. In particular, AliGel Prone Head Pads, Freedom Prone Head Pads, and AliLite Prone Headrests are all specifically designed to keep the patient’s head in a straight neutral position during prone surgical procedures. Featuring a T-shaped configuration, these head positioners protect the patient’s head and face. In addition, endotracheal tubes can be accessed through channels on either side or from the bottom of these head positioners. These head positioners are also designed to limit ocular pressure, and have been tested to ensure they reduce pressure as much as possible.

 

Taking the necessary patient positioning steps to protect against vision loss is a critical part of your patient positioning programs.

 

References:

  1. http://www.outpatientsurgery.net/surgical-facility-administration/patient-safety/avoid-these-5-patient-positioning-disasters--04-15
  2. https://www.aana.com/newsandjournal/Documents/ischemic_0410_p141-145.pdf

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