Background: Mechanical ventilation with low tidal volumes has the potential to mitigate ventilation-induced lung injury, yet the clinical effect of tidal volume size on myocardial function has not been clarified. This cross-sectional study investigated whether low tidal volume ventilation has beneficial effects on myocardial systolic and diastolic function compared to intermediate tidal volume ventilation.
Methods: Forty-two mechanically ventilated patients without acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) underwent transthoracic echocardiography after more than 24 h of mechanical ventilation according to the Protective Ventilation in Patients without ARDS (PReVENT) trial comparing a low versus intermediate tidal volume strategy. The primary outcome was left ventricular and right ventricular myocardial performance index as measure for combined systolic and diastolic function, with lower values indicating better myocardial function and a right ventricular myocardial performance index greater than 0.54 regarded as the abnormality threshold. Secondary outcomes included specific systolic and diastolic parameters.
Results: One patient was excluded due to insufficient acoustic windows, leaving 21 patients receiving low tidal volumes with a tidal volume size (mean ± SD) of 6.5 ± 1.8 ml/kg predicted body weight, while 20 patients were subjected to intermediate tidal volumes receiving a tidal volume size of 9.5 ± 1.6 ml/kg predicted body weight (mean difference, -3.0 ml/kg; 95% CI, -4.1 to -2.0; P < 0.001). Right ventricular dysfunction was reduced in the low tidal volume group compared to the intermediate tidal volume group (myocardial performance index, 0.41 ± 0.13 vs. 0.64 ± 0.15; mean difference, -0.23; 95% CI, -0.32 to -0.14; P < 0.001) as was left ventricular dysfunction (myocardial performance index, 0.50 ± 0.17 vs. 0.63 ± 0.19; mean difference, -0.13; 95% CI, -0.24 to -0.01; P = 0.030). Similarly, most systolic parameters were superior in the low tidal volume group compared to the intermediate tidal volume group, yet diastolic parameters did not differ between both groups.
Conclusions: In patients without ARDS, intermediate tidal volume ventilation decreased left ventricular and right ventricular systolic function compared to low tidal volume ventilation, although without an effect on diastolic function.