• Anaesthesia · Mar 2020

    Observational Study

    Effects of tracheal intubation and tracheal tube position on regional lung ventilation: an observational study.

    Positive pressure ventilation with an endotracheal tube shifts regional lung ventilation ventrally.

    • A B Lumb, L Savic, M R Horsford, and S R Hodgson.
    • Department of Anaesthesia, St James's University Hospital, Leeds, UK.
    • Anaesthesia. 2020 Mar 1; 75 (3): 359-365.

    AbstractAnaesthesia and positive pressure ventilation cause ventral redistribution of regional ventilation, potentially caused by the tracheal tube. We used electrical impedance tomography to map regional ventilation during anaesthesia in 10 patients with and without a tracheal tube. We recorded impedance data in subjects who were awake, during bag-mask ventilation, with the tracheal tube positioned normally, rotated 90° to each side and advanced until in an endobronchial position. We recorded the following measurements: ventilation of the right lung (proportion, %); centre of ventilation (100% = entirely ventral); global inhomogeneity (0% = homogenous); and regional ventilation delay, an index of temporal heterogeneity. We compared the results using Student's t-tests. Relative to subjects who were awake, anaesthesia with bag-mask ventilation reduced right-sided ventilation by 5.6% (p = 0.002), reduced regional ventilation delay by 1.6% (p = 0.025), and moved the centre of ventilation ventrally from 51.4% to 58.2% (p = 0.0001). Tracheal tube ventilation caused a further centre of ventilation increase of 1.3% (p = 0.009). With the tube near the carina, right-sided ventilation increased by 3.2% (p = 0.031) and regional ventilation delay by 2.8% (p = 0.049). Tube rotation caused a 1.6% increase in right-sided ventilation compared with normal position (p = 0.043 left and p = 0.031 right). Global inhomogeneity remained mostly unchanged. Ventral ventilation with positive pressure ventilation occurred with bag-mask ventilation, but was exacerbated by a tracheal tube. Tube position influenced ventilation of the right and left lungs, while ventilation overall remained homogenous. Tube rotation in either direction resulted in ventilation patterns being closer to when awake than either bag-mask ventilation or a normally positioned tube. These results suggest that even ideal tube positioning cannot avoid the ventral shift in ventilation.© 2019 Association of Anaesthetists.

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    Positive pressure ventilation with an endotracheal tube shifts regional lung ventilation ventrally.

    Daniel Jolley  Daniel Jolley

    Take me back to the First Part

    This study confirmed the well-known observation of the ventral ventilation shift under positive pressure ventilation, and quantified the contribution from the endotrachial tube itself, versus from muscle relaxation and IPPV.

    This ventral shift under IPPV has also been shown to occur during pressure support ventilation with an LMA, when compared with spontaneous breathing under GA (Radke 2012).

    Using electrical impedance tomography Lumb et al. confirmed this ventral shift in supine IPPV subjects, and demonstrated that this is primarily due to IPPV rather than the ETT itself, – although they found tube presence contributed to ~16% of the change.

    "The generally accepted physiological explanation ... is that of greater cephalad movement of the diaphragm in dependent vs. non‐dependent lung regions during anaesthesia, resulting in changes in regional lung compliance."

    "...regional ventilation with positive pressure ventilation during anaesthesia, even with no tracheal tube in place, is grossly different when compared with spontaneous ventilation, with greater ventilation of the left lung and ventral regions of both lungs. These effects are exacerbated by ventilation through a tracheal tube, leading to a greater degree of inhomogeneity of overall ventilation compared with when awake.

    Take-home message

    The authors note that while anaesthetists understand the detrimental effect of inadvertent endobronchial intubation, simply having the ETT tip close to the carina also worsens V/Q mismatch and is not as well appreciated. In these situations, tube withdrawal and/or 90o rotation may improve V/Q match.

    Although this may be clinical insignificant for most patients, it should be considered when needing to improve gas exchange, particularly in critical care patients.

    Daniel Jolley  Daniel Jolley
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