Sustained inflations improve respiratory compliance during high-frequency oscillatory ventilation but not during large tidal volume positive-pressure ventilation in rabbits

D M Bond, J McAloon, A B Froese
Critical Care Medicine 1994, 22 (8): 1269-77

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether volume recruitment maneuvers that induce significant lung reexpansion during high-frequency oscillatory ventilation are also of value during conventional positive-pressure ventilation.

DESIGN: Crossover comparison of volume recruitment maneuvers administered during high-frequency oscillatory ventilation and positive-pressure ventilation in normal and surfactant-deficient adult rabbits.

SETTING: Laboratory.

SUBJECTS: Nineteen adult New Zealand white rabbits (weight 2.3 to 3.3 kg).

METHODS: Respiratory system compliance was measured plethysmographically before and after sustained inflations in six normal and five saline-lavaged anesthetized rabbits, using both ventilators over a range of mean and end-expiratory pressures.

RESULTS: Under conditions where sustained inflations during high-frequency oscillatory ventilation at 15 Hz increased respiratory system compliance 50 +/- 28%, sustained inflations during conventional positive-pressure ventilation at a rate of 30 to 40 breaths/min and tidal volumes of 14 to 17 mL/kg did not change respiratory system compliance (mean change 3 +/- 9%). Sustained inflations during conventional positive-pressure ventilation could not be made effective by increasing the positive end-expiratory pressure level to equal the mean pressure during high-frequency oscillatory ventilation. Sustained inflations on conventional positive-pressure ventilation remained ineffective up to positive end-expiratory pressure levels of 17.5 cm H2O. In lavaged rabbits, sustained inflations increased respiratory system compliance 49 +/- 14% during high-frequency oscillatory ventilation and 0 +/- 3% during conventional positive-pressure ventilation. Sustained inflations increased compliance significantly during conventional positive-pressure ventilation only when ventilating with tidal volumes of 7 mL/kg and low end-expiratory pressure.

CONCLUSIONS: Active recruitment of lung volume during high-frequency oscillatory ventilation appears necessary, because small pressure/volume cycles adequate to support high-frequency gas transport are not able to reexpand atelectatic lung units without the aid of a sustained inflation. We conclude that volume recruitment maneuvers improve respiratory system compliance substantially during high-frequency oscillatory ventilation at 15 Hz, but these maneuvers offer potential risk and no benefit during conventional positive-pressure ventilation with large tidal volumes or when using smaller tidal volumes and high levels of positive end-expiratory pressure.

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