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INTRODUCTION: High-flow nasal oxygen (HFNO) and prone positioning may improve outcomes of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients treated in the intensive care unit (ICU). The aim of this study was to describe outcomes following the timely application of HFNO and prone positioning in COVID-19 patients treated in a ward setting. METHODS: The study included 89 prospectively recruited subjects at the COVID-19 ward unit of the University Hospital of Heraklion, Greece, between March and December 2020. RESULTS: Seventy-four (83%) of the 89 subjects in the study had severe COVID-19. Of those, 33 (45%) required HFNO treatment and prone positioning and 15 (45%) were transferred to the ICU, with 4 of them being intubated. Severe COVID-19 and HFNO needs were associated with an increased pneumonia severity index (PSI) score on admission and a worse PaO2/FiO2 ratio. In multivariate analysis, PSI was the only independent predictor of subsequent HFNO needs (OR=1.022). Overall intubation and mortality rates were 5.6% and 3.4%, respectively. CONCLUSION: This study shows that for patients with severe COVID-19 hospitalized in medical wards, standard COVID-19 treatment, along with the timely utilization of HFNO and prone positioning, resulted in excellent outcomes with fewer ICU admission rates.

Original publication




Journal article


Kurume Med J

Publication Date



COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, critical care, high-flow nasal oxygen therapy, intensive care, prone position