Background: The aims of the present study were (i) to characterize the relationship between mean airway pressure (PAW) and reactance measured at 5 Hz (reactance of the respiratory system (X RS), forced oscillation technique) and (ii) to compare optimal PAW (P opt) defined by X RS, oxygenation, lung volume (VL), and tidal volume (VT) in preterm lambs receiving high-frequency oscillatory ventilation (HFOV).
Methods: Nine 132-d gestation lambs were commenced on HFOV at PAW of 14 cmH2O (P start). PAW was increased stepwise to a maximum pressure (P max) and subsequently sequentially decreased to the closing pressure (Pcl, oxygenation deteriorated) or a minimum of 6 cmH2O, using an oxygenation-based recruitment maneuver. X RS, regional V L (electrical impedance tomography), and V T were measured immediately after (t 0 min) and 2 min after (t 2 min) each PAW decrement. P opt defined by oxygenation, X RS, V L, and V T were determined.
Results: The PAW-X RS and PAW-VT relationships were dome shaped with a maximum at Pcl+6 cmH2O, the same point as P opt defined by VL. Below Pcl+6 cmH2O, X RS became unstable between t 0 min and t 2 min and was associated with derecruitment in the dependent lung. P opt, as defined by oxygenation, was lower than the P opt defined by X RS, V L, or V T.
Conclusion: X RS has the potential as a bedside tool for optimizing PAW during HFOV.