Patients die when turned on left side?? - page 2

Has anyone heard of or experienced a patient dying after being turned on their left side? Some more experienced nurses were joking once about it, swearing it was true. And actually it happened to me... Read More

  1. by   semperfi8688
    I agree with ya.
  2. by   incublissRN
    Quote from kiyatylese
    I have heard that it is all about the vena cava. If a person is laying on the left side, the vena cava is free to push more blood to the heart, which makes the heart work more, it has a bigger workload. When the patient is turned to the right, the vena cava is supposedly still under some compression, but not on the left side. That is why they recommend the pregnant women to sleep on the left side, and that is why they turn pregnant women to the left, when there are some problems.
    I work in critical care and if I have a patient with a labile blood pressure they will more likely tolerate being turned on the left side for the same reason.
  3. by   SICU Queen
    Quote from meownsmile
    I dont really know how "true" it is, but if you think about your cardiac physiology and lung function (consider the left lung has 3 lobes) and is less likely to expand fully when lying on the side it is very possible that death may be hastened if a patient is weakened and in the process of dying.


    Dig out that ol' A&P book... LOLOLOLOL...
  4. by   Cardiac-RN
    I thought it had less to do with lung expansion and more to do with blood pressure...think about it:

    In L&D they frequently keep women with PIH delivering on their left sides to keep their BP lower than when they are on their backs; the reverse is true for little those little old patient's struggling to keep a blood pressure. Turn them off their back (where their pressure is acceptable) onto their leftside, and down goes the BP, and here comes the code : P

    Seen it happen a couple of times.
  5. by   kate1969
    I was pregnant with my oldest child (now 22) and I was toxemic, I was informed my my obstetrician to lay on my left side to control the blood pressure...
    later in life, a physician told me, if you want to lower BP lay on your left side, if you want to control GERD, lay on your right side....bizarre how all that works, but it does...so maybe if the patient lays on his left side, and his pressures are already sort of low...hmmmm....
    the human body is bizarre...yet amazing....
    katie
  6. by   Hoozdo
    Quote from AirforceRN2b
    If a patient is so weak or close to death that turning them to the left might hasten their departure, I don't think it should really matter. The pt is obviously pretty close to death anyway. If it's not "turning on their left" it'll be cleaning them to death, putting the head of the bed up too high or some other small act which will push them over the edge.
    I agree; I have seen it happen many times. Turn to the left or a turn to the right,or cleaning up stool, or moving bed to different room, BAM right into a code. I have had residents order MRIs or catscans on these kind of patients and told them "that isn't going to happen, too unstable to move!" They have never argued about it luckily.
  7. by   UK2USA
    I too have heard this for many years... except I was told that a LSDR (left sided death roll) is to do with pressure on a dying left ventricle. Supposedly this slight increase in the pressure of the systemic 'pump' can push the heart into final arrest.
  8. by   JRapha'sRN
    oh dear, I'm supposed to sleep on my L side because I'm pregnant... and now I'm going to die because I'm on my L side? I guess I just won't sleep--wait, I already don't sleep, I'm always up to the bathroom
  9. by   Sabby_NC
    Well I work in Hospice and have not really noticed a trend of placing my patients on the left side which has hastened their death. I am going to take particular notice now.
    Heck I could do my own little research paper eh? LOL
    I shall report back
  10. by   suespets
    yes, actively dying patients gen do die on their left sides(harder for heart to pump) In my 33 yrs of nursing ,seen it many,many times sue

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