Rationale: Premature infants are exposed to potentially injurious ventilation in the delivery room. Assessments of lung injury are confounded by effects of subsequent ventilatory support.
Objectives: To evaluate the injury response to a brief period of large tidal volume (Vt) ventilation, simulating neonatal resuscitation in preterm neonates.
Methods: Preterm lambs (129 d gestation; term is150 d) were ventilated (Vt = 15 ml/kg, no positive end-expiratory pressure) for 15 minutes to simulate delivery room resuscitation, either with the placental circulation intact (fetal resuscitation [ FR]) or after delivery (neonatal resuscitation [NR]). After the initial 15 minutes, lambs received surfactant and were maintained with either ventilatory support (FR-VS and NR-VS) or placental support (FR-PS) for 2 hours, 45 minutes. A control group received no resuscitation and was maintained with placental support. Samples of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, lung, and liver were analyzed.
Measurements and main results: Inflammatory cells and protein in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, heat shock protein-70 immunostaining, IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-8, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, serum amyloid A (SAA)-3, Toll-like receptor (TLR)-2, and TLR4 mRNA in the lungs were increased in the FR-PS group compared with control animals. There were further elevations in neutrophils, IL-6, and IL-8 mRNA in the FR-VS and NR-VS groups compared with FR-PS. SAA3, TLR2, and TLR4 mRNA increased in the liver in all resuscitation groups relative to control animals.
Conclusions: Ventilation for 15 minutes with a Vt of 15 ml/kg initiates an injurious process in the preterm lung and a hepatic acute-phase response. Subsequent ventilatory support causes further increases in some injury indicators.