Mechanical ventilation strategies and inflammatory responses to cardiac surgery: a prospective randomized clinical trial

Intensive Care Med. 2005 Oct;31(10):1379-87. doi: 10.1007/s00134-005-2767-1. Epub 2005 Aug 17.


Objective: To examine whether postoperative mechanical ventilation with lower tidal volumes (V(T)) has protective effects on inflammatory responses induced by cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) surgery in smokers and nonsmokers.

Design and setting: Prospective, randomized, controlled clinical trial in the intensive care unit of a university hospital.

Patients and participants: We examined 44 patients (22 smokers, 22 nonsmokers) immediately after uncomplicated CPB surgery.

Interventions: Ventilation was applied for 6 h with either V(T) of either 6 or 12 ml/kg ideal body weight.

Measurements and results: The time course of serum tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha, interleukin (IL) 6, and IL-8 determined 0, 2, 4, and 6 h after randomization did not differ significantly between the ventilatory strategies. By contrast, in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids sampled after 6 h only TNF-alpha levels were significantly higher in the high V(T) group than the low V(T) group (50+/-111 pg/ml vs. 1+/-7 pg/ml). IL-6 and IL-8 concentrations did not differ between groups. Subgroup analysis of patients with serum TNF-alpha level higher than 0 pg/ml after surgery revealed lower TNF-alpha serum levels during lower V(T) ventilation. All observed effects were small, independent of patients' history of smoking, and were not correlated with duration of ventilation and ICU stay.

Conclusions: Ventilation with lower V(T) had no or only minor effect on systemic and pulmonary inflammatory responses in patients with healthy lungs after uncomplicated CPB surgery. Our data do not suggest a clinical benefit of using low V(T) ventilation in these selected patients.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Coronary Artery Bypass*
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia / etiology
  • Pneumonia / prevention & control*
  • Postoperative Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange
  • Respiration, Artificial*
  • Smoking


  • Cytokines