Experimental model of atelectasis in newborn piglets

Respir Care. 2014 Jan;59(1):121-6. doi: 10.4187/respcare.02352. Epub 2013 Jul 2.


Background: There are few studies using animal models in chest physical therapy. However, there are no models to assess these effects in newborns. This study aimed to develop a model of obstructive atelectasis induced by artificial mucus injection in the lungs of newborn piglets, for the study of neonatal physiotherapy.

Methods: Thirteen newborn piglets received artificial mucus injection via the endotracheal tube. X-rays and blood gas analysis confirmed the atelectasis.

Results: The model showed consistent results between oxygenation parameters and radiological findings. Ten (76.9%) of the 13 piglets responded to the intervention. This did not significantly differ from the expected percentage of 50% by the binomial test (95% CI 46.2-95%, P = .09).

Conclusions: Our model of atelectasis in newborn piglets is both feasible and appropriate to evaluate the impact of physical therapies on atelectasis in newborns.

Keywords: animal model; atelectasis; mechanical ventilation; mucus; newborn; physiotherapy; swine.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Pulmonary Atelectasis / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Atelectasis / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Atelectasis / therapy
  • Radiography
  • Swine


  • Oxygen