Objective: To evaluate the peak inspiratory pressure, tidal volume and respiratory rate achieved during manual ventilation of premature lambs, using a self-inflating bag.
Methods: In this descriptive, experimental study, five pairs of physicians, selected at random among 35 neonatologists working at a neonatal intensive care unit and with experience in the resuscitation of newborn infants, ventilated five intubated premature lambs using a self-inflating bag. Pressure and flow monitor signals were passed through a transducer and digitized for recording and analysis. Tidal volume and pressure curves were obtained from the integral of flow rate, at peak, during the last 50 seconds of every fifth minute, and analyzed.
Results: Median pressure was 39.8 (IQ(25-75%) 30.2-47.2) cmH(2)O; being below 20 in 1.1% of cases and above 40 in 49.1%. Seven out of 10 physicians produced more than six pressure peaks of over 40 cmH(2)O. Median tidal volume/kg was 17.8 (IQ(25-75%) 14.1-22.4) mL, being below 5 mL in 0.1% of cases and greater than or equal to 20 mL in 37.7%. All of the physicians propelled five or more ventilation cycles with tidal volume/kg of 20 mL or more. Respiratory rate was between 30 and 60 cycles/minute in 65.9% of cases, being below 30 in 6.8% of cases and over 60 in 27.3% of cases.
Conclusions: There was major variation in peak inspiratory pressure and tidal volume/kg values, which were in many cases elevated, attaining levels that habitually cause biotrauma, while respiratory rates were adequate in the majority of cases.