Comparison of gas and liquid ventilation: clinical, physiological, and histological correlates

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1992 Mar;72(3):1024-31. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1992.72.3.1024.


To differentiate the effects of gas and liquid ventilation on cardiopulmonary function during early development, we compared the clinical, physiological, and histological profiles of gas- and liquid-ventilated preterm lambs (n = 16; 108-116 days gestation). Immediately after cesarean section delivery, ventilation commenced using gas delivered by a volume ventilator (n = 9) or liquid perfluorochemical (n = 7) delivered by a mechanically assisted liquid ventilation system. Pulmonary gas exchange, acid-base status, vital signs, and respiratory compliance were assessed during the 3-h protocol; sections of the lungs were obtained for histological analyses when the animals were killed. Six of nine gas-ventilated lambs expired from respiratory failure before 3 h, with the remaining animals experiencing severe respiratory insufficiency, pneumothoraces, and cardiovascular deterioration. Six of seven liquid-ventilated lambs survived with good gas exchange and cardiovascular stability and without fluorothorax; one experienced ventricular fibrillation before 1 h and expired despite pulmonary stability. Respiratory compliance was significantly greater in the liquid- than in the gas-ventilated lambs. Histological analyses of gas-ventilated lungs demonstrated nonhomogeneous lung expansion, with thick-walled gas exchange spaces containing proteinaceous exudate, hemorrhage, and hyaline membranes. In contrast, liquid-ventilated lungs appeared clear, with thin-walled and uniformly expanded gas exchange spaces that were free of hyaline membranes and luminal debris. Morphometric analyses demonstrated that surface area and gas exchange index were greater in the liquid- than in the gas-ventilated lambs. These results indicate that elimination of surface active forces by liquid ventilation during early development provides more effective gas exchange with less barotrauma compared with gas ventilation.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / physiology*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Gases
  • Lung / anatomy & histology
  • Lung / physiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange / physiology
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods*
  • Sheep


  • Fluorocarbons
  • Gases