Supine position

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Supine position and prone position

The supine position (/ˈspn/) means lying horizontally with the face and torso facing up, as opposed to the prone position, which is face down. When used in surgical procedures, it grants access to the peritoneal, thoracic and pericardial regions; as well as the head, neck and extremities.[1]

Using anatomical terms of location, the dorsal side is down, and the ventral side is up, when supine.

A man lying in the supine position
A leopard in the supine position


In scientific literature "semi-supine" commonly refers to positions where the upper body is tilted (at 45° or variations) and not completely horizontal.[2]

Relation to sudden infant death syndrome[edit]

The decline in death due to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is said to be attributable to having babies sleep in the supine position.[3] The realization that infants sleeping face down, or in a prone position, had an increased mortality rate re-emerged into medical awareness at the end of the 1980s when two researchers, Susan Beal in Australia and Gus De Jonge in the Netherlands, independently noted the association.[4]

It is believed that in the prone position babies are more at risk to re-breathe their own carbon dioxide. Because of the immature state of their central chemoreceptors, infants do not respond to the subsequent respiratory acidosis that develops.[5][6] Typical non-infants realize autonomic responses of increased rate and depth of respiration (hyperventilation, yawning).

Obstructive sleep apnea[edit]

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a form of sleep apnea that occurs more frequently when throat muscles relax[7] and is most severe when individuals are sleeping in the supine position. Studies and evidence show that OSA related to sleeping in the supine position is related to the airway positioning, reduced lung volume, and the inability of airway muscles to dilate enough to compensate as the airway collapses.[8] With individuals who have OSA, many health care providers encourage their patients to avoid the supine position while asleep and sleep laterally or sleep with the head of their bed up in a 30- or 45-degree angle.[9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rothrock, J. C. (2007) Alexander's Care of the Patient in Surgery 13th Ed. Mobsy Elsevier: St Louis, Missouri. p. 148.
  2. ^ Petropoulou, E; Lancellotti, P; Piérard, LA (2006). "Quantitative analysis of semi-supine exercise echocardiography--influence of age on myocardial Doppler imaging indices". Acta Cardiologica. 61 (3): 271–7. doi:10.2143/ac.61.3.2014827. PMID 16869446. S2CID 25942174.
  3. ^ Marcarelli, Rebekah (3 May 2014). "Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Could Be Prevented By Making Sure Baby Sleeps On Back". Headlines & Global News. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  4. ^ Byard, Roger W.; Bright, Fiona; Vink, Robert (2018-03-01). "Why is a prone sleeping position dangerous for certain infants?". Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology. 14 (1): 114–116. doi:10.1007/s12024-017-9941-y. ISSN 1556-2891. PMID 29243157. S2CID 3876558.
  5. ^ L'Hoir MP, Engelberts AC, van Well GT, McClelland S, Westers P, Dandachli T, Mellenbergh GJ, Wolters WH, Huber J (1998). "Risk and preventive factors for cot death in The Netherlands, a low-incidence country". Eur. J. Pediatr. 157 (8): 681–8. doi:10.1007/s004310050911. PMID 9727856. S2CID 21642651.
  6. ^ "The Changing Concept of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Diagnostic Coding Shifts, Controversies Regarding the Sleeping Environment, and New Variables to Consider in Reducing Risk". American Academy of Pediatrics. Archived from the original on 2008-12-03. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
  7. ^ "What is sleep apnea therapy? Obstructive sleep apnea". Archived from the original on 22 July 2020. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  8. ^ Joosten, Simon A.; O'Driscoll, Denise M.; Berger, Philip J.; Hamilton, Garun S. (2014-02-01). "Supine position related obstructive sleep apnea in adults: pathogenesis and treatment". Sleep Medicine Reviews. 18 (1): 7–17. doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2013.01.005. ISSN 1532-2955. PMID 23669094.
  9. ^ Tuomilehto, Henri; Seppä, Juha; Partinen, Markku; Uusitupa, Matti (2009-07-01). "Avoiding the Supine Posture during Sleep for Patients with Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea". American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 180 (1): 101–102. doi:10.1164/ajrccm.180.1.101a. ISSN 1073-449X. PMID 19535668.
  10. ^ "Sleep Apnea Treatment". Monday, 13 September 2021