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Br J Anaesth. 2007 Sep;99(3):368-75. Epub 2007 Jul 9.

Effects of propofol and desflurane anaesthesia on the alveolar inflammatory response to one-lung ventilation.

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Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, Germany.



One-lung ventilation (OLV) induces a pro-inflammatory response including cytokine release and leucocyte recruitment in the ventilated lung. Whether volatile or i.v. anaesthetics differentially modulate the alveolar inflammatory response to OLV is unclear.


Thirty patients, ASA II or III, undergoing open thoracic surgery were randomized to receive either propofol 4 mg kg(-1) h(-1) (n = 15) or 1 MAC desflurane in air (n = 15) during thoracic surgery. Analgesia was provided by i.v. infusion of remifentanil (0.25 microg kg(-1) min(-1)) in both groups. The patients were mechanically ventilated according to a standard protocol during two-lung ventilation and OLV. Fibre optic bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) of the ventilated lung was performed before and after OLV and 2 h postoperatively. Alveolar cells, protein, tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha), interleukin (IL)-8, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM), IL10, and polymorphonuclear (PMN) elastase were determined in the BAL fluid. Data were analysed by parametric or non-parametric tests, as indicated.


In both groups, an increase in pro-inflammatory markers was found after OLV and 2 h postoperatively; however, the fraction of alveolar granulocytes (median 63.7 vs 31.1%, P < 0.05) was significantly higher in the propofol group compared with the desflurane group. The time courses of alveolar elastase, IL-8, and IL-10 differed between groups, and alveolar TNFalpha (7.4 vs 3.1 pg ml(-1), P < 0.05) and sICAM-1 (52.3 vs 26.3 ng ml(-1), P < 0.05) were significantly higher in the propofol group.


These data indicate that pro-inflammatory reactions during OLV were influenced by the type of general anaesthesia. Different patterns of alveolar cytokines may be a result of increased granulocyte recruitment during propofol anaesthesia.

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