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Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2011 Feb;55(2):165-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-6576.2010.02331.x. Epub 2010 Oct 29.

A new non-radiological method to assess potential lung recruitability: a pilot study in ALI patients.

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Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden.



Potentially recruitable lung has been assessed previously in patients with acute lung injury (ALI) by computed tomography. A large variability in lung recruitability was observed between patients. In this study, we assess whether a new non-radiological bedside technique could determine potentially recruitable lung volume (PRLV) in ALI patients.


Sixteen mechanically ventilated patients with early ALI/ARDS were subjected to a recruitment manoeuvre and decremental PEEP titration. Electric impedance tomography, together with measurements of end-expiratory lung volume (EELV) and tracheal pressure, were used to determine PRLV. The method defines fully recruited open lung volume (OLV) as the volume reached at the end of two consecutive vital capacity manoeuvres to 40 cmH₂O. It also uses extrapolation of the baseline alveolar pressure/volume curve up to 40 cmH₂O, the volume reached being the non-recruited lung volume. The difference between the fully recruited and the non-recruited volume was defined as PRLV.


We observed a considerable heterogeneity among the patients in lung recruitability, PRLV range 11-47%. In a post hoc analysis, dividing the patients into two groups, a high and a low PRLV group, we found at baseline before the recruitment manoeuvre that the high PRLV group had lower compliance and a lower fraction of EELV/OLV.


Using non-invasive radiation-free bedside methods, it may be possible to measure PRLV in ALI/ARDS patients. It is possible that this technique could be used to determine the need for recruitment manoeuvres and to select PEEP level on the basis of lung recruitability.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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