Effects of recruitment maneuver on atelectasis in anesthetized children

Gerardo Tusman, Stephan H Böhm, Alejandro Tempra, Fernando Melkun, Eduardo García, Elsio Turchetto, Paul G H Mulder, Burkhard Lachmann
Anesthesiology 2003, 98 (1): 14-22

BACKGROUND: General anesthesia is known to promote atelectasis formation. High inspiratory pressures are required to reexpand healthy but collapsed alveoli. However, in the absence of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP), reexpanded alveoli collapse again. Using magnetic resonance imaging, the impact of an alveolar recruitment strategy on the amount and distribution of atelectasis was tested.

METHODS: The authors prospectively randomized 24 children who met American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status I or II criteria, were aged 6 months-6 yr, and were undergoing cranial magnetic resonance imaging into three groups. After anesthesia induction, in the alveolar recruitment strategy (ARS) group, an alveolar recruitment maneuver was performed by manually ventilating the lungs with a peak airway pressure of 40 cm H2O and a PEEP of 15 cm H2O for 10 breaths. PEEP was then reduced to and kept at 5 cm H2O. The continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) group received 5 cm H2O of continuous positive airway pressure without recruitment. The zero end-expiratory pressure (ZEEP) group received neither PEEP nor the recruitment maneuver. All patients breathed spontaneously during the procedure. After cranial magnetic resonance imaging, thoracic magnetic resonance imaging was performed.

RESULTS: The atelectatic volume (median, first and third standard quartiles) detected in the ZEEP group was 1.25 (0.75-4.56) cm3 in the right lung and 4.25 (3.2-13.9) cm3 in the left lung. The CPAP group had 9.5 (3.1-23.7) cm3 of collapsed lung tissue in the right lung and 8.8 (5.3-28.5) cm3 in the left lung. Only one patient in the ARS group presented an atelectasis of less than 2 cm3. An uneven distribution of the atelectasis was observed within each lung and between the right and left lungs, with a clear predominance of the left basal paradiaphragmatic regions.

CONCLUSION: Frequency of atelectasis was much less following the alveolar recruitment strategy, compared with children who did not have the maneuver performed. The mere application of 5 cm H2O of CPAP without a prior recruitment did not show the same treatment effect and showed no difference compared to the control group without PEEP.

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