Monitoring of recruitment and derecruitment by electrical impedance tomography in a model of acute lung injury

Crit Care Med. 2000 Dec;28(12):3891-5. doi: 10.1097/00003246-200012000-00025.


Objective: To evaluate a noninvasive system for obtaining information about alveolar recruitment and derecruitment in a model of acute lung injury.

Design: Prospective experimental study.

Setting: Animal research laboratory.

Subjects: Nine anesthetized pigs.

Interventions: Electrical impedance tomography measurements were performed. Electrical impedance tomography is an imaging technique that can register the ventilation-induced impedance changes in different parts of the lung. In nine anesthetized pigs, repeated lung lavages were performed until a PaO2 of <80 mm Hg was reached. Thereafter, the lungs were recruited according to two different recruitment protocols: the open lung approach and the open lung concept. Five time points for measurements were chosen: healthy (reference), lavage (atelectasis), recruitment, derecruitment, and maintain recruited (final).

Measurements and main results: After lavage, there was a significant increase in the impedance ratio, defined as the ventilation-induced impedance changes of the anterior part of the lung divided by that of the posterior part (from 1.75 +/- 0.63 to 4.51 +/- 2.22; p < .05). The impedance ratio decreased significantly after performing the recruitment protocol (from 4.51 +/- 2.22 to 1.18 +/- 0.51). During both recruitment procedures, a steep increase in baseline impedance change was seen. Furthermore, during derecruitment, a decrease in the slope in baseline impedance change was seen in the posterior part of the lung, whereas the anterior part showed no change.

Conclusion: Electrical impedance tomography is a technique that can show impedance changes resembling recruitment and derecruitment of alveoli in the anterior and posterior parts of the lung. Therefore, electrical impedance tomography may help in determining the optimal mechanical ventilation in a patient with acute lung injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Electric Impedance*
  • Female
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods*
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / physiopathology*
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / chemically induced
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / diagnostic imaging*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / metabolism
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / therapy
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Swine
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*


  • Sodium Chloride