Effect of positive end-expiratory pressure on regional ventilation distribution during mechanical ventilation after surfactant depletion

Sam Bayat, Liisa Porra, Gergely Albu, Heikki Suhonen, Satu Strengell, Pekka Suortti, Anssi Sovijärvi, Ferenc Peták, Walid Habre

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Ventilator-induced lung injury occurs due to exaggerated local stresses, repeated collapse, and opening of terminal air spaces in poorly aerated dependent lung, and increased stretch in nondependent lung. The aim of this study was to quantify the functional behavior of peripheral lung units in whole-lung lavage-induced surfactant depletion, and to assess the effect of positive end-expiratory pressure. Methods: The authors used synchrotron imaging to measure lung aeration and regional specific ventilation at positive end-expiratory pressure of 3 and 9 cm H2O, before and after whole-lung lavage in rabbits. Respiratory mechanical parameters were measured, and helium-washout was used to assess end-expiratory lung volume. Results: Atelectatic, poorly, normally aerated, hyperinflated, and trapped regions could be identified using the imaging technique used in this study. Surfactant depletion significantly increased atelectasis (6.3 ± 3.3 [mean ± SEM]% total lung area; P = 0.04 vs. control) and poor aeration in dependent lung. Regional ventilation was distributed to poorly aerated regions with high (16.4 ± 4.4%; P < 0.001), normal (20.7 ± 5.9%; P < 0.001 vs. control), and low (5.7 ± 1.2%; P < 0.05 vs. control) specific ventilation. Significant redistribution of ventilation to normally aerated nondependent lung regions occurred (41.0 ± 9.6%; P = 0.03 vs. control). Increasing positive end-expiratory pressure level to 9 cm H2O significantly reduced poor aeration and recruited atelectasis, but ventilation redistribution persisted (39.2 ± 9.5%; P < 0.001 vs. control). Conclusions: Ventilation of poorly aerated dependent lung regions, which can promote the local concentration of mechanical stresses, was the predominant functional behavior in surfactant-depleted lung. Potential tidal recruitment of atelectatic lung regions involved a smaller fraction of the imaged lung. Significant ventilation redistribution to aerated lung regions places these at risk of increased stretch injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-100
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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