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Anesth Analg. 2003 Jul;97(1):268-74, table of contents.

The effects of tidal volume and respiratory rate on oxygenation and respiratory mechanics during laparoscopy in morbidly obese patients.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.


Morbidly obese (MO) patients undergoing laparoscopy have lower PaO(2) compared with normal-weight (NW) patients. We hypothesized that increases in tidal volume (V(T)) or respiratory rate (RR) would improve oxygenation. All measurements were performed at: 1) baseline: V(T) 600-700 mL and 10 breaths/min, 2) double V(T): V(T) 1200-1400 mL and 10 breaths/min, and 3) double rate: V(T) 600-700 mL and 20 breaths/min. We calculated static respiratory system compliance (Cst,rs) and inspiratory resistance (RI,rs). End-tidal CO(2) was measured with a mass spectrometer, and PaO(2) and PaCO(2) with a continuous blood gas monitor. Supine anesthetized MO patients had 29% lower Cst,rs than the NW patients (P < 0.05). Positioning patients head-up or head-down before pneumoperitoneum did not significantly affect Cst,rs in either group (P = 0.8). Doubling the V(T), but not RR, increased Cst,rs in both groups. Pneumoperitoneum caused large decreases in Cst,rs in both groups (both P < 0.001). During pneumoperitoneum, changing the body position, V(T), or RR did not further affect Cst,rs in either group (P > 0.7). Before pneumoperitoneum, RI,rs was higher in the MO patients compared with the NW patients regardless of body position (P = 0.01). Doubling either RR or V(T) before pneumoperitoneum did not change RI,rs in either group. After pneumoperitoneum, RI,rs increased in both the head-down and head-up positions (P < 0.05), but not in the supine position. Regardless of the conditions studied, alveolar-arterial difference in oxygen tension was always significantly higher in MO patients (P < 0.05). The alveolar-arterial difference in oxygen tension was not affected by body position, pneumoperitoneum, or the mode of ventilation. Arterial oxygenation during laparoscopy was affected only by body weight and could not be improved by increasing either the V(T) or RR.


Morbid obesity decreases arterial oxygenation and respiratory system compliance. During laparoscopy, arterial oxygenation is affected only by the patient's body weight. Increases in tidal volume or respiratory rate do not improve arterial oxygenation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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