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Estimation of inspiratory effort using airway occlusion maneuvers in ventilated children: a secondary analysis of an ongoing randomized trial testing a lung and diaphragm protective ventilation strategy.

BACKGROUND: Monitoring respiratory effort in ventilated patients is important to balance lung and diaphragm protection. Esophageal manometry remains the gold standard for monitoring respiratory effort but is invasive and requires expertise for its measurement and interpretation. Airway pressures during occlusion maneuvers may provide an alternative, although pediatric data are limited. We sought to determine the correlation between change in esophageal pressure during tidal breathing (∆Pes) and airway pressure measured during three airway occlusion maneuvers: (1) expiratory occlusion pressure (Pocc), (2) airway occlusion pressure (P0.1), and (3) respiratory muscle pressure index (PMI) in children. We also sought to explore pediatric threshold values for these pressures to detect excessive or insufficient respiratory effort.

METHODS: Secondary analysis of physiologic data from children between 1 month and 18 years of age with acute respiratory distress syndrome enrolled in an ongoing randomized clinical trial testing a lung and diaphragm protective ventilation strategy (REDvent, R01HL124666). ∆Pes, Pocc, P0.1, and PMI were measured. Repeated measure correlations were used to investigate correlation coefficients between ∆Pes and the three measures, and linear regression equations were generated to identify potential therapeutic thresholds.

RESULTS: There were 653 inspiratory and 713 expiratory holds from 97 patients. Pocc had the strongest correlation with ∆Pes (r = 0.68), followed by PMI (r = 0.60) and P0.1 (r = 0.42). ∆Pes could be reliably estimated using the regression equation ∆Pes = 0.66 [Formula: see text] Pocc (R2  = 0.82), with Pocc cut-points having high specificity and moderate sensitivity to detect respective ∆Pes thresholds for high and low respiratory effort. There were minimal differences in the relationship between Pocc and ∆Pes based on age (infant, child, adolescent) or mode of ventilation (SIMV versus Pressure Support), although these differences were more apparent with P0.1 and PMI.

CONCLUSIONS: Airway occlusion maneuvers may be appropriate alternatives to esophageal pressure measurement to estimate the inspiratory effort in children, and Pocc represents the most promising target.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT03266016; August 23, 2017.

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