Driving Pressure during Thoracic Surgery: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Anesthesiology. 2019 Mar;130(3):385-393. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0000000000002600.


What we already know about this topic: Driving pressure (plateau minus end-expiratory airway pressure) is a target in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome, and is proposed as a target during general anesthesia for patients with normal lungs. It has not been reported for thoracic anesthesia where isolated, inflated lungs may be especially at risk.

What this article tells us that is new: In a double-blinded, randomized trial (292 patients), minimized driving pressure compared with standard protective ventilation was associated with less postoperative pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Background: Recently, several retrospective studies have suggested that pulmonary complication is related with driving pressure more than any other ventilatory parameter. Thus, the authors compared driving pressure-guided ventilation with conventional protective ventilation in thoracic surgery, where lung protection is of the utmost importance. The authors hypothesized that driving pressure-guided ventilation decreases postoperative pulmonary complications more than conventional protective ventilation.

Methods: In this double-blind, randomized, controlled study, 292 patients scheduled for elective thoracic surgery were included in the analysis. The protective ventilation group (n = 147) received conventional protective ventilation during one-lung ventilation: tidal volume 6 ml/kg of ideal body weight, positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) 5 cm H2O, and recruitment maneuver. The driving pressure group (n = 145) received the same tidal volume and recruitment, but with individualized PEEP which produces the lowest driving pressure (plateau pressure-PEEP) during one-lung ventilation. The primary outcome was postoperative pulmonary complications based on the Melbourne Group Scale (at least 4) until postoperative day 3.

Results: Melbourne Group Scale of at least 4 occurred in 8 of 145 patients (5.5%) in the driving pressure group, as compared with 18 of 147 (12.2%) in the protective ventilation group (P = 0.047, odds ratio 0.42; 95% CI, 0.18 to 0.99). The number of patients who developed pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome was less in the driving pressure group than in the protective ventilation group (10/145 [6.9%] vs. 22/147 [15.0%], P = 0.028, odds ratio 0.42; 95% CI, 0.19 to 0.92).

Conclusions: Application of driving pressure-guided ventilation during one-lung ventilation was associated with a lower incidence of postoperative pulmonary complications compared with conventional protective ventilation in thoracic surgery.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • One-Lung Ventilation / methods*
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology*
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Thoracic Surgical Procedures / methods*