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Uneven distribution of ventilation in acute respiratory distress syndrome.

  • Author(s): Rylander, Christian
  • Tylén, Ulf
  • Rossi-Norrlund, Rauni
  • Herrmann, Peter
  • Quintel, Michael
  • Bake, Björn
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.1186/cc3058
Abstract

Introduction

The aim of this study was to assess the volume of gas being poorly ventilated or non-ventilated within the lungs of patients treated with mechanical ventilation and suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Methods

A prospective, descriptive study was performed of 25 sedated and paralysed ARDS patients, mechanically ventilated with a positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) of 5 cmH2O in a multidisciplinary intensive care unit of a tertiary university hospital. The volume of poorly ventilated or non-ventilated gas was assumed to correspond to a difference between the ventilated gas volume, determined as the end-expiratory lung volume by rebreathing of sulphur hexafluoride (EELVSF6), and the total gas volume, calculated from computed tomography images in the end-expiratory position (EELVCT). The methods used were validated by similar measurements in 20 healthy subjects in whom no poorly ventilated or non-ventilated gas is expected to be found.

Results

EELVSF6 was 66% of EELVCT, corresponding to a mean difference of 0.71 litre. EELVSF6 and EELVCT were significantly correlated (r2 = 0.72; P < 0.001). In the healthy subjects, the two methods yielded almost identical results.

Conclusion

About one-third of the total pulmonary gas volume seems poorly ventilated or non-ventilated in sedated and paralysed ARDS patients when mechanically ventilated with a PEEP of 5 cmH2O. Uneven distribution of ventilation due to airway closure and/or obstruction is likely to be involved.

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