Diaphragm electrical activity during expiration in mechanically ventilated infants

Pediatr Res. 2006 May;59(5):705-10. doi: 10.1203/01.pdr.0000214986.82862.57.


The presence of diaphragm electrical activity (EAdi) during expiration is believed to be involved in the maintenance of end-expiratory lung volume (EELV) and has never been studied in intubated and mechanically ventilated infants. The aim of this study was to quantify the amplitude of diaphragm electrical activity present during expiration in mechanically ventilated infants and to measure the impact of removing positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) on this activity. We studied the EAdi in 16 ready-to-be weaned intubated infants who were breathing on their prescribed ventilator and PEEP settings. In all 16 patients, 5 min of data were collected on the prescribed ventilator settings. In a subset of eight patients, the PEEP was briefly reduced to zero PEEP (ZEEP). EAdi was recorded with miniaturized sensors placed on a conventional nasogastric feeding tube. Airway pressure (Paw) was also measured. For each spontaneous breath, we identified the neural inspiration and neural expiration. Neural expiration was divided into quartiles (Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4), and the amplitude of EAdi calculated for each Q1-Q4 represented 95 +/- 29%, 31 +/- 15%, 15 +/- 8%, and 12 +/- 7%, respectively, of the inspiratory EAdi amplitude. EAdi for Q3-Q4 significantly increased during ZEEP, and decreased after reapplication of PEEP. These findings confirm that the diaphragm remains partially active during expiration in intubated and mechanically ventilated infants and that removal of PEEP affects this tonic activity. This could have potential implications on the management of PEEP in intubated infants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diaphragm / physiopathology*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Exhalation / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration
  • Respiration, Artificial*