Does altitude affect tidal volume during mechanical ventilation?

Manikis, D.; Grigoropoulou, I.; Pagouni, X.; Kyriazis, A.*; Pyrros, D.*

European Journal of Anaesthesiology:
Abstracts and Programme: European Society of Anaesthesiologists; 9th Annual Meeting with the Swedish Society of Anaesthesiology; Gothenburg, Sweden, 7-10 April 2001: Monitoring Equipment and Computers
Author Information

Piraeus General Hospital; *National Center of Emergency Care

Article Outline

Abstract A-103

Background and goal of the study: The evolution of medicine enforces the transport of critically ill nontrauma and trauma patients to specific medical centers. Aeromedical transportation is the only way to transport these patients as fast as possible. Air transport subjects patients and medical equipment to changing barometric pressure. We studied the effect of decreased atmospheric pressure to the function of portable ventilator.

Materials and methods: An artificial lung (model Drager LS 800) portable ventilator (Weinman), and volume monitor (Ohmeda 5410), were used. The following parameters were set: respiratory rate 14 min−1, expired tidal volume 670 mL, expired minute volume 9.2 L, artificial lung compliance 0.02 L bar−1 at altitude equivalent to 0 feet. The study was performed during a flight in a Dornier airplane without pressurized cabin. Maintained constant, during the flight, ventilator respiratory rate and artificial lung compliance 0.02 L bar−1 expired tidal volume and minute volume were measured as the plane flying up to 10 500 feet.

Results: Expired tidal volume and expired minute volume were markedly affected by increasing altitude and decreasing atmospheric pressure simultaneously (Table 1). At 10 500 feet altitude (atmospheric pressure almost 523 mmHg) tidal volume increased 40% of the volume at 0 feet.

Conclusions: Effective mechanical ventilation plays important role in the care of critically ill patient. End-tidal CO2 monitoring and ventilators with volume autoregulation are needed when breathing is mechanically supported during aeromedical transport.

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Section Description

The abstracts published in this supplement have been typeset from camera-ready copies prepared by the authors. Every effort has been made to reproduce faithfully the abstracts as submitted. These abstracts have been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the European Society of Anaesthesiologists and have not been subjected to review nor editing by the European Journal Of Anaesthesiology. However, no responsibility is assumed by the organisers for any injury and/or damage to persons or property as a matter of products liability, negligence or otherwise, or from any use or operation of methods, products, instructions or ideas contained in the material herein. Because of the rapid advances in medical sciences, we recommend that independent verification of diagnoses and drug doses should be made.

© 2001 European Society of Anaesthesiology