Objective: To study the effects of partial liquid ventilation with perfluorocarbon on cardiovascular function, pulmonary gas exchange, and lung mechanics in term newborn lambs with pulmonary hypertension induced by tracheal instillation of human meconium.
Design: Prospective, randomized study.
Setting: Research Unit at a university-affiliated hospital.
Subjects: Twelve term newborn lambs (<6 days old).
Interventions: Lambs were studied in two groups (n = 6): meconium aspiration (3–5 ml/kg 20% meconium solution) managed on pressure-limited conventional mechanical ventilation with or without partial liquid ventilation with perfluorocarbon.
Measurements and Main Results: Heart rate, systemic and pulmonary arterial pressures, arterial pH and blood gases, cardiac output, and pulmonary mechanics were measured. Partial liquid ventilation in term newborn lambs with experimental meconium aspiration did not alter cardiovascular profile: heart rate, systemic arterial pressure, and cardiac output maintained initial values throughout the experiment. There was a significant improvement in gas exchange (oxygenation increased from values of <100 torr to 338 torr, and ventilation reached normal values in 15 mins). Dynamic compliance increased in 30 mins, reaching basal values (1.1 ± 0.3 ml/cm H2O per kg). Despite the good response (blood gases and cardiovascular profile) to partial liquid ventilation in meconium aspiration syndrome, pulmonary hypertension did not decrease.
Conclusions: Partial liquid ventilation with perfluorocarbon could be a good noninvasive alternative technique that improves gas exchange and pulmonary mechanics in meconium aspiration syndrome without impairing cardiovascular function.