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J Breath Res. 2015 Nov 19;9(4):047106. doi: 10.1088/1752-7155/9/4/047106.

Sampling and analyzing alveolar exhaled breath condensate in mechanically ventilated patients: a feasibility study.

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'Maggiore della Carità' Hospital, Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Corso Mazzini 18, 28100, Novara, Italy.


Recent studies in spontaneously breathing subjects indicate the possibility of obtaining the alveolar fraction of exhaled breath condensate (aEBC). In critically ill mechanically ventilated patients, in whom microbial colonization of the upper airways is constant, collection of aEBC could considerably add to the ability of monitoring alveolar inflammation. We designed this study to test the feasibility of collecting aEBC in mechanically ventilated critically ill patients through a dedicated apparatus, i.e. a CO2 valve combined with a condenser placed in the expiratory limb of the ventilator circuit. We also aimed to assess the adequacy of the samples obtained by measuring different markers of oxidative stress and inflammation. We enrolled 40 mechanically ventilated patients, 20 with and 20 without acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Measurements of respiratory mechanics, gas exchange and hemodynamics were obtained with a standard ventilator circuit after 30 min of aEBC collection and after inserting the dedicated collecting apparatus. Data showed that intrinsic positive end-expiratory pressure, peak and plateau pressure, static compliance and airway resistance (Raw) were similar before and after adding the collecting apparatus in both ARDS and controls. Similarly, gas exchange and hemodynamic variables did not change and 30 min collection provided a median aEBC volume of 2.100 and 2.300 ml for ARDS and controls, respectively. aEBC pH showed a trend toward a slight reduction in the ARDS group of patients, as opposed to controls (7.83 (7.62-8.03) versus 7.98 (7.87-8.12), respectively, p  =  0.055)). H2O2 was higher in patients with ARDS, compared to controls (0.09 (0.06-0.12) μM versus 0.03 (0.01-0.09) μM, p  =  0.043), while no difference was found in proteins content, 8-isoprostane, 4-hydroxy-2-nonhenal. In conclusion, we demonstrate, in patients receiving controlled mechanical ventilation, that aEBC collection is feasible without detrimental effects on ventilator functioning, respiratory mechanics and gas exchange. In addition, we show that the sample obtained is appropriate for compounds analysis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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