Lung recruitment maneuver in patients with cerebral injury: effects on intracranial pressure and cerebral metabolism

Intensive Care Med. 2002 May;28(5):554-8. doi: 10.1007/s00134-002-1273-y. Epub 2002 Apr 12.


Objective: To investigate the effects of a lung recruitment maneuver on intracranial pressure (ICP) and cerebral metabolism in patients with acute cerebral injury and respiratory failure.

Design: Prospective investigation.

Setting: Ten-bed intensive care unit of a university hospital.

Patients: Eleven patients with acute traumatic or non-traumatic cerebral lesions, who were on mechanical ventilation with acute lung injury.

Interventions: Hemodynamics, ICP, cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP), jugular venous oxygen saturation (SJO(2)), and arterial minus jugular venous lactate content difference (AJDL) were measured before, during and after a volume recruitment maneuver (VRM), which included a 30-s progressive increase in peak pressure up to 60 cmH(2)O and a sustained pressure at the same level for the next 30 s.

Results: At the end of VRM, ICP was elevated (16+/-5 mmHg vs 13+/-5 mmHg before VRM, P<0.05) and mean arterial pressure was reduced (75+/-10 vs 86+/-9 mmHg, P<0.01), which resulted in a decrease of CPP (60+/-10 vs 72+/-8 mmHg, P<0.01). SJO(2) deteriorated at the end of the procedure (59+/-7 vs 69+/-6%, P<0.05), AJDL was not altered. In the following period all parameters returned to normal values. An improvement in arterial oxygenation was observed at the end, but not in the period after the maneuver.

Conclusions: Our VRM reduced cerebral hemodynamics and metabolism. We conclude that our VRM with high peak pressure effects only a marginal improvement in oxygenation but causes deterioration of cerebral hemodynamics. We therefore cannot recommend this technique for the ventilatory management of brain-injured patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain Injuries / complications
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Brain Ischemia / etiology
  • Brain Ischemia / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Pressure*
  • Linear Models
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Lung Injury
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Oxygen