Introduction: Protocols using high levels of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) in combination with low tidal volumes have been shown to reduce mortality in patients with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). However, the optimal method for setting PEEP is yet to be defined. It has been shown that respiratory system reactance (Xrs), measured by the forced oscillation technique (FOT) at 5 Hz, may be used to identify the minimal PEEP level required to maintain lung recruitment. The aim of the present study was to evaluate if using Xrs for setting PEEP would improve lung mechanics and reduce lung injury compared to an oxygenation-based approach.
Methods: 17 pigs, in which acute lung injury (ALI) was induced by saline lavage, were studied. Animals were randomized into two groups: in the first PEEP was titrated according to Xrs (FOT group), in the control group PEEP was set according to the ARDSNet protocol (ARDSNet group). The duration of the trial was 12 hours. In both groups recruitment maneuvers (RM) were performed every 2 hours, increasing PEEP to 20 cmH(2)O. In the FOT group PEEP was titrated by monitoring Xrs while PEEP was reduced from 20 cmH(2)O in steps of 2 cmH(2)O. PEEP was considered optimal at the step before which Xrs started to decrease. Ventilatory parameters, lung mechanics, blood gases and hemodynamic parameters were recorded hourly. Lung injury was evaluated by histopathological analysis.
Results: The PEEP levels set in the FOT group were significantly higher compared to those set in the ARDSNet group during the whole trial. These higher values of PEEP resulted in improved lung mechanics, reduced driving pressure, improved oxygenation, with a trend for higher PaCO(2) and lower systemic and pulmonary pressure. After 12 hours of ventilation, histopathological analysis showed a significantly lower score of lung injury in the FOT group compared to the ARDSNet group.
Conclusions: In a lavage model of lung injury a PEEP optimization strategy based on maximizing Xrs attenuated the signs of ventilator induced lung injury. The respiratory system reactance measured by FOT could thus be an important component in a strategy for delivering protective ventilation to patients with ARDS/acute lung injury.
2011. Vol. 15, no 3, R126- p.