Intratracheal pulmonary ventilation in a rabbit lung injury model: continuous airway pressure monitoring and gas exchange efficacy

E K Hon, K A Hultquist, T Loescher, A Raszynski, D Torbati, C Tabares, J Wolfsdorf
Critical Care Medicine 2000, 28 (7): 2480-5

OBJECTIVES: To compare carinal pressures vs. proximal airway pressures, and gas exchange efficacy with a constant minute volume, in lung-injured rabbits during conventional mechanical ventilation (CMV) and intratracheal pulmonary ventilation (ITPV); and to evaluate performance of a prototype ITPV gas delivery and continuous airway pressure monitoring system.

DESIGN: Prospective controlled study.

SETTING: Animal research laboratory at a teaching hospital.

SUBJECTS: Sixteen adult female rabbits.

INTERVENTIONS: Anesthetized rabbits were tracheostomized with a multilumen endotracheal tube. Anesthesia and muscle relaxation were maintained continuously throughout the study. Proximal airway pressures and carinal pressures were recorded continuously. The injection port of the multilumen endotracheal tube was used for the carinal pressure monitoring. To prevent obstruction of the port, it was flushed with oxygen at a rate of 11 mL/min. CMV was initiated with a pressure-limited, time-cycled ventilator set at an FiO2 of 1.0 and at a flow of 1.0 L/kg/min. The pressure limit of the ventilator was effectively disabled. A normal baseline for arterial blood gases was achieved by adjusting the inspiratory/expiratory time ratios. ITPV was established using a flow of 1.0 L/kg/min through a reverse thrust catheter, at the same baseline and inspiratory/expiratory ratio. Carinal positive end-expiratory pressure was maintained at a constant value of 2 cm H2O by adjusting the expiratory resistance of the ventilator circuit Lung injury was achieved over a 30-min period by three normal saline lavages of 5 mL/kg each. After lung injury, all animals were consecutively ventilated for 1 hr with CMV, for 1 hr with ITPV, and again for 1 hr with CMV. Six rabbits were ventilated at 30 breaths/min (group 1), and ten rabbits were ventilated at 80 breaths/min (group 2). Four rabbits in group 2 were subjected, 1 hr after return to CMV from ITPV, to another session of ITPV, with positive end-expiratory pressure gradually being increased to 4, 6, and 8 cm H2O for 15 mins each.

RESULTS: No significant differences were observed in carinal peak inspiratory pressure between CMV and ITPV modes, at both low and high frequencies of breathing, indicating that the inspired tidal volume remained constant during both modes of ventilation. Significant gradients were noted between proximal airway and carinal peak inspiratory pressure during ITPV but not during CMV. Initiation of ITPV, at a flow of 1.0 L/kg/min, required an increase in the ventilator expiratory resistance to maintain a constant level of positive end-expiratory pressure (2 cm H2O) as measured at the carina. During ITPV, the PaCO2 was significantly reduced by 20% at 30 breaths/min (p < .05) and by 22% at 90 breaths/min (p < .01), compared with CMV. Arterial oxygenation was significantly enhanced with a positive end-expiratory pressure of 6 and 8 cm H2O (p < .05 and .001, respectively), compared with a positive end-expiratory pressure of 2 cm H2O during ITPV. All components of the new prototype gas delivery and airway pressure monitoring system functioned without failure, at least for 3 hrs of the CMV, ITPV, and CMV trials.

CONCLUSIONS: ITPV in saline-lavaged, lung-injured rabbits at breathing frequencies of 30 and 80 breaths/min, compared with CMV at the same minute ventilation, can improve CO2 exchange. During ITPV, significant pressure gradients can develop between carinal and proximal airway pressures. Continuous carinal pressure monitoring is therefore necessary for the safe clinical application of ITPV. Reliable carinal pressure monitoring can be achieved by adding a small bias flow through the carinal pressure monitoring port. Although ITPV can remove CO2 from injured lungs efficiently, simultaneous addition of positive end-expiratory pressure can further improve arterial oxygenation.

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