The stable lateral position is a standard positioning in which a self-breathing, but conscious or unconscious person should be used to prevent the inhalation of foreign particles ( aspiration ). Particularly unconscious persons are at risk of aspiration, since the body's protective reflexes, such as the cough reflex, fail. The stable lateral position should thus ensure that the respiratory tract remain free and vomit, blood or saliva can run out of the mouth.
There are many different types of storage for different clinical pictures. The stable lateral position is suitable for all conscious or unconscious patients who can still breathe independently, ie are not intubated. Individuals should also be placed in this position if they are likely to vomit or have already vomited and are not fully conscious. In the stable lateral position vomit can drain away, because through the backwards tilt of the head and the open mouth the vomit does not flow back into the stomach or the lung but out.
It is not difficult to put a person in a stable position on the side and there should be no fear of helping the affected person by doing so. If you find a person unconscious, you have to check the breathing, this is done by paying attention to whether the chest still moves synchronously. If this observation is difficult due to clothing or the finding situation, you can also hold your hand in front of your nose and check whether the breath is noticeable. Furthermore, it must be checked whether the heart is still beating. This can be determined by feeling the pulse either on the wrist or the main artery in the neck.
If the person is still breathing and a pulse is palpable, the person can be placed in the stable side position. For this purpose, the helper kneels beside the victim and stretches the legs of the unconscious person. Then the helper takes the arm of the unconscious who is on his side and lays it up angled, with the palm facing up. In the following, the other arm is gripped on the wrist and crossed in front of the chest, the back of the hand is placed on the cheek. With one hand, the helper now holds the affected person's hand on the cheek. With the other hand still free, the leg is placed on the helper side and bent in the hollow of the knee. From this position, the person affected is drawn to the side of the helper.
Furthermore, the affected person must now be aligned. It is important that the upper leg is oriented so that it is at right angles to the hip. This leg stabilizes the position. Most importantly, this is the following: the affected person's head must be slightly overstretched, so that the airways are free.
Subsequently, the mouth of the unconscious person is opened. One should also look into the mouth and check if there are foreign objects or food leftovers that could be swallowed. If so, they should be removed to prevent potential suffocation. The affected person's hand on the cheek should be oriented so that the airways remain free.
Only then will the emergency call be placed below 112. To protect the affected person from cooling down, you can cover them. The rescue blankets should be laid so that the silver side points to the affected person. In the time until the arrival of the rescue service, the breathing and the consciousness of the person concerned should be regularly checked and reassured.
There should be no reluctance when the unconscious person is suddenly a child or even a baby. After all, each situation is better than the reserve, because in this position, the tongue can fall back far and choke the affected person to tongue or stomach contents. Babies should be placed in the prone position instead of the stable side position. In this position, the child can breathe freely and vomit can drain away. The danger of suffocation is banned. The baby should be placed with the belly on a warm and soft surface, a pillow for example. The child's head should be turned to the side and the head tilted backwards. As with the adult too, the mouth should be opened.
In general, pregnant women are placed in a stable side position when they become unconscious. However, in pregnant women care should be taken that the face is pointing to the left side, so the woman is placed in left lateral position in order to relieve the inferior vena cava (inferior vena cava). In fact, the vena cava compression syndrome often occurs in reserve, with a fall in blood pressure and unconsciousness due to the entrapment of the inferior vena cava (inferior vena cava). This prevents the body from delivering enough blood back to the heart, and the heart has too little blood to supply the body and brain with blood. Even the child is not sufficiently supplied with oxygen. If you find a pregnant woman, especially in the last trimester, fainting, the woman should always be placed in the stable lateral position to the left to ensure that the vena cava is not compressed. If a compression syndrome was crucial for unconsciousness, the woman will regain consciousness in the stable lateral position in the left side position. If, for one reason, the pregnant woman is unconscious, she is protected from a compression syndrome in this position.
Since 2006, a newer version of the page situation has been taught, which was thought to be easier to remember. The old versions are in no case wrong or unsuitable. The new variant of the stable side position is only easier to learn and associated with less effort. Another benefit of this is that you could quickly turn the unconscious person back on his back if the circulation fails and cardiopulmonary resuscitation becomes necessary. The older version of the stable lateral position is under no circumstances disadvantaged. Those who master the old version more safely than the new one should use the old one.