Objective: We investigated whether improvement in ventilation perfusion (.V(A)/.Q) distribution during mechanical ventilation using biphasic positive airway pressure (BIPAP) with spontaneous breathing may be attributed to an effectively increased transpulmonary pressure (P(TP)) and can also be achieved by increasing P(TP) during controlled ventilation.
Design: In 12 pigs with saline lavage-induced lung injury we compared the effects of BIPAP to pressure-controlled ventilation with equal airway pressure (PCV(AW)) or equal transpulmonary pressure (PCV(TP)) on V(A)/.Q distribution assessed by the multiple inert gas elimination technique (MIGET).
Setting: Animal laboratory study.
Measurements and results: Intrapulmonary shunt was 33+/-11% during BIPAP, 36+/-10% during PCV(AW) and 33+/-15% during PCV(TP) ( p= n.s.). BIPAP resulted in higher PaO(2) than PCV(AW) (188+/-83 versus 147+/-82 mmHg, p < 0.05), but not than PCV(TP) (187+/-139 mmHg). Oxygen delivery was significantly higher during BIPAP (530+/-109 ml/min) versus 374+/-113 ml/min during PCV(AW) and 353+/-93 ml/min during PCV(TP) ( p < 0.005). Tidal volume with PCV(TP) increased to 11.9+/-2.3 ml/kg, compared to 8.5+/-0.8 with BIPAP and 7.6+/-1.4 with PCV(AW) ( p <0.001) and cardiac output decreased to 3.5+/-0.6 l/min (BIPAP 4.9+/-0.8 and PCV(AW) 3.9+/-0.8, p<0.006).
Conclusions: In experimental lung injury, BIPAP with preserved spontaneous breathing was effective in increasing regional P(TP), since pressure-controlled ventilation with the same P(TP) resulted in similar gas exchange effects. However, PCV(TP) caused increased airway pressures and tidal volumes, whereby, with BIPAP, less depression of oxygen delivery and cardiac output were observed. BIPAP could be useful in maintaining pulmonary gas exchange and slightly improving oxygenation without interfering with circulation as strongly as PCV does.