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Chest. 1979 Oct;76(4):397-400.

The routine use of positive end-expiratory pressure after open heart surgery.


Because atelectasis of the left lower lobe is a frequent complication of open heart surgery, we evaluated the efficacy of routine therapy with positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) to prevent this complication. Twenty-four patients were randomly assigned to either a group receiving therapy with PEEP (ten patients) or to a group with no PEEP (14 patients). The two groups could not be distinguished by age, weight, the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), the ratio of FEV1 over the forced vital capacity, the time on the pump, the units of blood transfused, the tidal volume, or the hours of mechanical ventilation. There was no significant roentgenographic difference between the two groups in either the degree or frequency of left lower lobe atelectasis. While the arterial-alveolar ratios tended to improve over time in those patients receiving therapy with PEEP, this improvement was not clinically significant. No complications were encountered with the use of PEEP. We conclude that the routine use of PEEP following open heart surgery is safe but offers no advantage over standard ventilatory techniques.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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