Jody Morlan

Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


The beach chair position has become a commonplace positioning technique for various procedures in the operating room. The purpose of this study was to review research related to the use of the beach chair position and general anesthesia along with the complications associated with it. There can be complications associated with this position that include venous air embolism, unrecognized cerebral hypoperfusion, blindness, and nerve injuries. The beach chair position causes many hemodynamic changes in the body; this is compounded when general anesthesia is used to further impact the stability of patients. Recent research has shown a death and three cases of severe brain damage related to patients in the beach chair position who were at low risk for these complications (Pohl & Cullen, 2005). The findings indicate that there are complications that can occur when placing patients in the beach chair position while under general anesthesia.

Many of those complications were not recognized by the surgical team. Patients who had the most severe complications were deemed to be at a low risk for such events prior to surgery. The number of patients in the studies was low, but if patients had complications related to this positioning technique, the outcomes were devastating to them. The beach chair position and general anesthesia can induce many unwarranted problems in patients. Complications can be numerous with lifelong implications to previously healthy individuals. Vigilance among providers in regard to patients' hemodynamics and positioning are keys in order to prevent complications. Due to the low number of cases found, further research is needed to corroborate these findings.