Apnoeic oxygenation in adults under general anaesthesia using Transnasal Humidified Rapid-Insufflation Ventilatory Exchange (THRIVE) - a physiological study

Br J Anaesth. 2017 Apr 1;118(4):610-617. doi: 10.1093/bja/aex036.


Background.: Apnoeic oxygenation during anaesthesia has traditionally been limited by the rapid increase in carbon dioxide and subsequent decrease in pH. Using a Transnasal Humidified Rapid-Insufflation Ventilatory Exchange (THRIVE) technique a slower increase in carbon dioxide than earlier studies was seen. Notably, apnoeic oxygenation using THRIVE has not been systematically evaluated with arterial blood gases or in patients undergoing laryngeal surgery. The primary aim of this study was to characterize changes in arterial P O 2 , P CO 2 and pH during apnoeic oxygenation using THRIVE under general anaesthesia.

Methods.: Adult patients, (ASA I-II), undergoing shorter laryngeal surgery under general anaesthesia, were oxygenated during apnoea using THRIVE, 100% oxygen, 40-70 litres min - 1 . A cohort was randomized to hyperventilate during pre-oxygenation. Vital parameters and blood gases were monitored.

Results.: Thirty-one patients, age 51 (34-76) yr, BMI 25 (4) were included. Mean apnoea time was 22.5 (4.5) min. Patients were well oxygenated, S pO 2 was never below 91%. The increase in P aCO 2 and end-tidal CO 2 during apnoea was 0.24 (0.05) and 0.12 (0.04) kPa min -1 , respectively. Hyperventilation during pre-oxygenation generated no difference in P aCO 2 at the end of apnoea compared with normoventilation.

Conclusions.: This physiological study of apnoeic oxygenation using THRIVE during laryngeal surgery shows that this technique is able to keep patients with mild systemic disease and a BMI <30 well oxygenated for a period of up to 30 min. The THRIVE concept makes it possible to extend the apnoeic window but monitoring of CO 2 and/or pH is recommended.

Clinical trial registration.: NCT02706431.

Keywords: artificial apnea hypercapnia; carbon dioxide; oxygen; pH; respiration.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Airway Management
  • Anesthesia, General / methods*
  • Apnea / metabolism*
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hypercapnia
  • Insufflation / methods*
  • Larynx / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods*
  • Risk Factors


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Oxygen

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02706431