The effect of exogenous surfactant in patients with lung contusions and acute lung injury

Intensive Care Med. 2007 May;33(5):851. doi: 10.1007/s00134-007-0597-z. Epub 2007 Mar 22.


Objective: To investigate the acute effect of surfactant replacement in multiple-trauma patients with lung contusion and acute lung injury.

Design and setting: Prospective randomized clinical trial in the 14-bed ICU of a 750-bed university hospital.

Patients and participants: Sixteen ventilated trauma patients with severe refractory hypoxemia (PaO(2)/FIO(2)<150 mmHg) and lung contusions.

Interventions: Patients were randomly assigned to either surfactant administration (n=8) or standard treatment (n=8). A single dose of natural bovine surfactant was instilled bronchoscopically in the involved lung areas; each segmental bronchus received (200/19) mg/kg body weight.

Measurements and results: The surfactant group demonstrated an acute improvement in oxygenation after surfactant replacement compared both to control group and to baseline values. In the surfactant group PaO(2)/FIO(2) increased from 100+/-20 mmHg at baseline to 140+/-20 (6 h), 163+/-26 (12 h), and 187+/-30 mmHg (24h). Compliance increased from 30 to 36 ml/cmH(2)O at 6 h after administration, and this increase remained significant at the 24, 48, and 72 h time points. The surfactant group demonstrated a higher response to recruitment maneuvers than the control group at 6 h. The mean duration of ventilatory support was 5.6 +/-2.6 days in the surfactant group and 8.1+/-2.4 days in the control group.

Conclusions: Surfactant replacement was well tolerated in patients with lung contusions and severe hypoxemia and resulted in improved oxygenation and compliance.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / therapy*
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / classification
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / therapy*
  • Surface-Active Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Surface-Active Agents