Airway pressure-time curve profile (stress index) detects tidal recruitment/hyperinflation in experimental acute lung injury

Crit Care Med. 2004 Apr;32(4):1018-27. doi: 10.1097/


Objective: To evaluate whether the shape of the airway pressure-time (Paw-t) curve during constant flow inflation corresponds to radiologic evidence of tidal recruitment or tidal hyperinflation in an experimental model of acute lung injury.

Design: Prospective randomized laboratory animal investigation.

Setting: Department of Clinical Physiology, University of Uppsala, Sweden.

Subjects: Anesthetized, paralyzed, and mechanically ventilated pigs.

Interventions: Acute lung injury was induced by lung lavage. During constant inspiratory flow, the Paw-t curve was fitted to a power equation: airway pressure =a x time + c, where coefficient b (stress index) describes the shape of the curve:b = 1, straight curve; b < 1, progressive increase in slope; and b > 1, progressive decrease in slope. Tidal volume (Vt) was 6 mL/kg, and positive end-expiratory pressure was set to obtain a b value between 0.9 and 1.1 before (b = 1) and after (b = 1 after recruiting maneuver) application of a recruiting maneuver. Positive end-expiratory pressure was decreased and Vt increased to obtain 0.9 >b > 0.8 and 0.8 >b > 0.6, whereas positive end-expiratory pressure and Vt were both increased to obtain 1.3 >b > 1.1 and 1.5 >b > 1.3. Experimental conditions sequence was random.

Measurements and main results: Pulmonary computed tomography was obtained during end-expiratory and end-inspiratory occlusions. Tidal recruitment was quantified as nonaerated (between -100 and +100 Hounsfield units) lung area at end-expiration minus end-inspiration. Tidal hyperinflation was quantified as hyperinflated (between -900 and -1000 Hounsfield units) lung area at end-inspiration minus end-expiration. Computed tomography images showed that tidal recruitment and tidal hyperinflation corresponded to b < 1 and b > 1, respectively. Stress index values and tidal recruitment and tidal hyperinflation values were significantly correlated (R =.917 and R =.911, p <.0001, respectively).

Conclusions: Shape of the Paw-t curve detects tidal recruitment and tidal hyperinflation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / methods*
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Male
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration / methods*
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Atelectasis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pulmonary Atelectasis / physiopathology*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / diagnostic imaging*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Swine
  • Tidal Volume / physiology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Treatment Outcome