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The effect of positive end-expiratory pressure during partial liquid ventilation in acute lung injury in piglets

Zobel, Gerfried MD; Rödl, Siegfried MD; Urlesberger, Berndt MD; Dacar, Drago MD; Trafojer, Ursula MD; Trantina, Amelie MD

Laboratory Investigations

Objectives: To investigate the effects of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) application during partial liquid ventilation (PLV) on gas exchange, lung mechanics, and hemodynamics in acute lung injury.

Design: Prospective, randomized, experimental study.

Setting: University research laboratory.

Subjects: Six piglets weighing 7 to 12 kg.

Interventions: After induction of anesthesia, tracheostomy, and controlled mechanical ventilation, animals were instrumented with two central venous catheters, a pulmonary artery catheter and two arterial catheters, and an ultrasonic flow probe around the pulmonary artery. Acute lung injury was induced by the infusion of oleic acid (0.08 mL/kg) and repeated lung lavage procedures with 0.9% sodium chloride (20 mL/kg). The protocol consisted of four different PEEP levels (0, 5, 10, and 15 cm H2O) randomly applied during PLV. The oxygenated and warmed perfluorocarbon liquid (30 mL/kg) was instilled into the trachea over 5 mins without changing the ventilator settings.

Measurements and Main Results: Airway pressures, tidal volumes, dynamic and static pulmonary compliance, mean and expiratory airway resistances, and arterial blood gases were measured. In addition, dynamic pressure/volume loops were recorded. Hemodynamic monitoring included right atrial, mean pulmonary artery, pulmonary capillary wedge, and mean systemic arterial pressures and continuous flow recording at the pulmonary artery. The infusion of oleic acid combined with two to five lung lavage procedures induced a significant reduction in PaO2/FIO2 from 485 ± 28 torr (64 ± 3.6 kPa) to 68 ± 3.2 torr (9.0 ± 0.4 kPa) (p < .01) and in static pulmonary compliance from 1.3 ± 0.06 to 0.67 ± 0.04 mL/cm H2O/kg (p < .01). During PLV, PaO2/FIO2 increased significantly from 68 ± 3.2 torr (8.9 ± 0.4 kPa) to >200 torr (>26 kPa) (p < .01). The highest PaO2 values were observed during PLV with PEEP of 15 cm H2O. Deadspace ventilation was lower during PLV when PEEP levels of 10 to 15 cm H2O were applied. There were no differences in hemodynamic data during PLV with PEEP levels up to 10 cm H2O. However, PEEP levels of 15 cm H2O resulted in a significant decrease in cardiac output. Dynamic pressure/volume loops showed early inspiratory pressure spikes during PLV with PEEP levels of 0 and 5 cm H2O.

Conclusions: Partial liquid ventilation is a useful technique to improve oxygenation in severe acute lung injury. The application of PEEP during PLV further improves oxygenation and lung mechanics. PEEP levels of 10 cm H2O seem to be optimal to improve oxygenation and lung mechanics.

From the Departments of Pediatrics (Drs. Zobel and Rödl), Neonatology (Dr. Urlesberger), and Cardiac Surgery (Drs. Dacar and Trantina), University of Graz, Austria; and the Department of Pediatrics (Dr. Trafojer), University of Padova, Italy.

Supported, in part, by grant 6496 from the Austrian Nationalbank.

Presented, in part, at the 18th International Symposium on Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, Brussels, March 17, 1998.

Address requests for reprints to: Gerfried Zobel, MD, Children's Hospital, University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 30, A-8036 Graz, Austria. E-mail:

© 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.