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Pediatr Pulmonol. 1997 Sep;24(3):195-203.

Increased incidence of sighs (augmented inspiratory efforts) during synchronized intermittent mandatory ventilation (SIMV) in preterm neonates.

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University of Miami School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Florida, USA.


A reflex resulting in a deep, sigh-like inspiratory effort (augmented breath) is frequently triggered during synchronized mechanical ventilation in preterm infants. We studied the incidence of augmented inspiratory efforts and their effect on ventilation and lung compliance during conventional IMV and synchronized IMV (SIMV) in 15 preterm neonates (GA 26.7 +/- 1.5 wks (mean +/- SD), BW 925 +/- 222 g, age 1-8 days). Augmentation of spontaneous inspiratory effort was defined as an esophageal pressure deflection occurring coincident with a synchronized mechanical breath and exceeding the previous unassisted spontaneous effort by more than 50%. The incidence of augmented breaths was higher during SIMV (11.1 +/- 7.7%; P < 0.01) than during conventional IMV (5.1 +/- 6.1%). However, when the synchronized breaths were triggered late (200-300 msec) after the onset of inspiration, augmented breaths occurred no more frequently than during conventional IMV (6.0 +/- 4.7%). The incidence of augmented breaths correlated inversely with dynamic lung compliance (P = 0.014), but was not significantly influenced by a change in PEEP. Although inspiratory effort increased nearly three times during the augmented breaths, tidal volume increased only 12%. The change in tidal volume was limited because the augmented effort reached its maximal negativity only approximately 500 ms after the beginning of the synchronized, mechanical breath and at a time when the mechanical breath had already ended. For this reason the augmented effort did not contribute significantly to minute ventilation, but only prolonged inspiration. Dynamic lung compliance did not change significantly after an augmented breath. The results indicate that augmented inspiratory efforts are more common in preterm neonates ventilated with SIMV than with conventional IMV, but do not contribute significantly to ventilation.

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