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Expert Rev Respir Med. 2010 Aug;4(4):479-89. doi: 10.1586/ers.10.43.

Pros and cons of recruitment maneuvers in acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

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Laboratory of Pulmonary Investigation, Carlos Chagas Filho Biophysics Institute of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Centro de Ciências da Saúde, Avenida Carlos Chagas Filho, 373, Bloco G-014, Ilha do Fundão-21941-902, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.


In patients with acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome, a protective mechanical ventilation strategy characterized by low tidal volumes has been associated with reduced mortality. However, such a strategy may result in alveolar collapse, leading to cyclic opening and closing of atelectatic alveoli and distal airways. Thus, recruitment maneuvers (RMs) have been used to open up collapsed lungs, while adequate positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) levels may counteract alveolar derecruitment during low tidal volume ventilation, improving respiratory function and minimizing ventilator-associated lung injury. Nevertheless, considerable uncertainty remains regarding the appropriateness of RMs. The most commonly used RM is conventional sustained inflation, associated with respiratory and cardiovascular side effects, which may be minimized by newly proposed strategies: prolonged or incremental PEEP elevation; pressure-controlled ventilation with fixed PEEP and increased driving pressure; pressure-controlled ventilation applied with escalating PEEP and constant driving pressure; and long and slow increase in pressure. The efficiency of RMs may be affected by different factors, including the nature and extent of lung injury, capability of increasing inspiratory transpulmonary pressures, patient positioning and cardiac preload. Current evidence suggests that RMs can be used before setting PEEP, after ventilator circuit disconnection or as a rescue maneuver to overcome severe hypoxemia; however, their routine use does not seem to be justified at present. The development of new lung recruitment strategies that have fewer hemodynamic and biological effects on the lungs, as well as randomized clinical trials analyzing the impact of RMs on morbidity and mortality of acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome patients, are warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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