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Can J Anaesth. 1991 Nov;38(8):989-95.

Large tidal volume ventilation improves pulmonary gas exchange during lower abdominal surgery in Trendelenburg's position.

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Department of Anaesthesia, National University Hospital, National University of Singapore.


Impaired pulmonary gas exchange is a common complication of general anaesthesia. Periodic hyperinflation of the lungs and large tidal volume ventilation were the first preventive measures to be widely embraced, but their effectiveness in clinical practice has never been clearly established by controlled clinical studies. To assess their effects in high-risk patients we studied 24 adults having lower abdominal gynaecological surgery in the Trendelenburg (head down) position. Pulmonary oxygen exchange was determined during four steady-states: awake control (AC), after 30 min of conventional tidal volume (CVT, 7.5 or high tidal volume (HVT, 12.7 ventilation, introduced in random order, and five minutes after manual hyperinflations (HI) of the lungs. The patients' lungs were ventilated with air/O2 by an Ohmeda volume-controlled ventilator via a circle system. The FIO2 was controlled at 0.5, and FETCO2 was controlled by adding dead space during HVT. Arterial blood gas analysis was used to calculate the oxygen tension-based indices of gas exchange. There was significant deterioration of (A-a)DO2 at 30 min in Group A, whose lungs were first ventilated with CVT (81.6 +/- 7.2 to 166.8 +/- 13.7 mmHg, P less than 0.001); but not in Group B, whose lungs were first ventilated with HVT (77.0 +/- 9.9 to 104.4 +/- 16.8 mmHg). When Group A and B data were pooled there was no difference between randomized CVT and HVT, but improvement occurred after HI. In this model of compromised O2 exchange large inflation volumes (HVT and HI) were of considerable clinical benefit, HVT prevented and HI reversed the gas exchange disorder.

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