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Pediatr Pulmonol. 1998 Oct;26(4):283-6.

Liquid ventilation in an infant with pulmonary alveolar proteinosis.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.


Partial liquid ventilation (PLV) has been applied in various pulmonary diseases. We describe the use of partial liquid ventilation as a lavage method following normal saline (NS) lavage in an infant with pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP) and severe hypoxemia. A 6 weeks old 3.4 kg former 36 weeks gestation boy on supplemental oxygen was transferred to our NICU with persistent tachypnea, dry cough, and increasing oxygen requirements. A lingular open lung biopsy revealed PAP. He developed progressive respiratory failure requiring ventilatory support, necessitating conventional NS lavage, followed by lung lavage with perflubron (LiquiVent; Alliance Pharmaceutical Corp. and Hoechst Marion Roussel) while on venovenous extracorporeal life support (ECLS). Lung lavage with NS and perflubron yielded minimal cloudy effluent. Gas exchange and pulmonary function deteriorated following NS lavage and attempts to discontinue ECLS were poorly tolerated. In contrast, tidal volume, PaO2, and pulmonary compliance increased after PLV, while the (A-a) D(O2) decreased to a point where ECLS was no longer required. Once perflubron was added repeatedly to the ventilator circuit to correct for evaporation over the 4 days of PLV. Cardiovascular status remained stable for several days; however, eventually he required reinitiation of ECLS and more mechanical ventilatory support with each trial off ECLS. He was maintained on high pressures and FiO2 without any possibility to wean him from mechanical ventilation. Life support was withdrawn 1 month after admission. The survival from PAP in infants remains dismal, even with total lung NS lavage. While both NS and perflubron lavage in this patient were not effective in removing the proteinaceous alveolar debris, PLV following NS lavage was associated with an improvement in gas exchange and lung compliance.

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