Surfactant improves lung function and mitigates bacterial growth in immature ventilated rabbits with experimentally induced neonatal group B streptococcal pneumonia

E Herting, B Sun, C Jarstrand, T Curstedt, B Robertson
Archives of Disease in Childhood. Fetal and Neonatal Edition 1997, 76 (1): F3-8

AIMS: To study the influence of surfactant on lung function and bacterial proliferation in immature newborn rabbits with experimental group B streptococcal (GBS) pneumonia.

METHODS: Preterm rabbit fetuses (gestational age 28 days) underwent tracheotomy and were mechanically ventilated in a warmed body plethysmograph that permitted measurement of lung-thorax compliance. Fifteen minutes after the onset of ventilation the animals received either GBS or saline intratracheally; at 30 minutes, a bolus of saline or 200 mg/kg of a porcine surfactant (Curosurf) was administered via the airway. Bacterial proliferation was evaluated in lung homogenate at the end of the experiments and the results expressed as mean log10 cfu/g lung (SD). Animals receiving only saline (n = 20) or saline and surfactant (n = 20) served as controls.

RESULTS: The average survival time was about three hours in all groups. Infected animals receiving surfactant (n = 22) had significantly less bacterial growth (9.09 (0.45) vs 9.76 (0.91)) and improved lung function (compliance: 0.61 (0.14) vs 0.34 (0.19) ml/kg. cm H2O) than infected rabbits receiving saline at 30 minutes (n = 22).

CONCLUSION: Surfactant improves lung function and mitigates bacterial growth in preterm rabbits infected with group B streptococci.

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