Effect of positive end-expiratory pressure on right ventricular function in humans

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1992 Sep;146(3):681-7. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/146.3.681.


The effect of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) on right ventricular (RV) function in humans is complex. Previous studies have been limited in their interpretation by not defining either pericardial pressure (Ppc) or RV volumes. Accordingly, we measured RV volumes and pressures and Ppc as PEEP was increased from zero to 15 cm H2O in 12 patients after thoracotomy, using a pulmonary arterial catheter equipped with a rapid responding thermistor that allowed measurement of RV ejection fraction (ef), while Ppc was measured via a pericardial balloon catheter. RV end-diastolic volume (EDV) was estimated as the ratio of stroke volume (SV) to RVef, whereas RV end-systolic volume (ESV) was estimated as RV EDV-SV. Right atrial pressure (Pra) was defined as end-diastolic pressure, and pulmonary arterial pressures (Ppa), both peak and mean, were used as end-systolic pressures. PEEP increased Ppc, Pra, and lung compliance (Cl). Cardiac output also decreased but not significantly. Neither mean nor peak systolic Ppa, nor RVef was significantly altered by PEEP. There was no relation between either RV filling pressure (Pra-Ppc) and EDV or the change in RV filling pressure and EDV, although EDV varied significantly as PEEP varied for individuals (p less than 0.05). Similarly, there was no relation between Ppa and ESV when either mean or peak Ppa values relative to Ppc were used. The relations between EDV and both SV and RVef were weak (r = 0.54 and 0.55, respectively). RVef varied inversely with ESV (r = -0.77), although it showed no relation to transmural peak Ppa (r = 0.28).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures
  • Diastole / physiology
  • Hemodynamics / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lung Compliance / physiology
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration* / statistics & numerical data
  • Pulmonary Wedge Pressure / physiology
  • Systole / physiology
  • Ventricular Function, Right / physiology*