Lateral position with the remaining lung uppermost improves matching of pulmonary ventilation and perfusion in pneumonectomized pigs

J Surg Res. 2011 May 15;167(2):e55-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2010.09.002. Epub 2010 Oct 1.


Background: Pneumonectomy is a major surgery. Severe hypoxemia sometimes occurs after pneumonectomy. Effective gas exchange depends on perfect pulmonary ventilation (V˙(A)) and perfusion (Q˙) matching. The effect of position on V˙(A)/Q˙ matching after pneumonectomy is not clear. We therefore conducted this study to examine the effects of supine, left lateral decubitus (LLD), and right lateral decubitus (RLD) positions on V˙(A)/Q˙ matching and gas exchange after pneumonectomy in a porcine model.

Methods: Twelve pigs were anesthetized and mechanically ventilated; six pigs received right pneumonectomy and six pigs received left pneumonectomy. The positions of the pigs were changed to supine, LLD, and RLD in random order after pneumonectomy. We applied intravenous and aerosolized high-resolution fluorescent microsphere technique (FMT) to mark V˙(A) and Q˙ in conjunction with arterial blood gas analysis to study these variables at different positions. Mechanical ventilation was kept constant throughout.

Results: Different positions after pneumonectomy lead to significant changes in heterogeneity and matching of V˙(A)/Q˙. In right pneumonectomized pigs, the highest PaO(2), lowest V˙(A)/Q˙heterogeneity, and highest matching of V˙(A)/Q˙ was in RLD. In left pneumonectomized pigs, the highest PaO(2), lowest V˙(A)/Q˙ heterogeneity, and highest matching of V˙(A)/Q˙ was in LLD.

Conclusions: The lateral position with the remaining lung uppermost leads to the highest V˙(A)/Q˙ matching and best gas exchange after pneumonectomy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Lung / surgery*
  • Models, Animal
  • Perfusion
  • Pneumonectomy*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange / physiology
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / physiology*
  • Swine