Perfluorocarbon broncho-alveolar lavage and liquid ventilation versus saline broncho-alveolar lavage in adult guinea pig experimental model of meconium inhalation

Intensive Care Med. 1998 May;24(5):501-8. doi: 10.1007/s001340050603.


Objective: This study compares perfluorocarbon broncho-alveolar lavage (PFC-BAL) with isotonic saline broncho-alveolar lavage (saline-BAL) in an experimental model of meconium aspiration in adult guinea pigs.

Design: Prospective controlled experimental study.

Patients and methods: Ten male guinea pigs were given 1 ml of human meconium, diluted to 10% in isotonic saline, via tracheostomy and then artificially ventilated. After stabilization, five animals (control group) underwent BAL with 10 ml/ kg isotonic saline solution. After bronchial suctioning, a further BAL with 2 ml/kg saline was performed. The other five animals (study group) underwent BAL with 100 ml/kg of PFC (RIMAR 101). Bronchosuction was effected at 5 min and then a BAL with PFC 2 ml/kg was performed. Both groups received conventional mechanical ventilation during the lavage procedures. Within 20 min all the saline-BAL treated animals died, whereas the PFC-BAL treated animals survived and were then treated with total liquid ventilation (TLV) by gravity.

Measurements and results: After meconium inhalation in both groups, a large alveolar-arterial oxygen difference, hypercarbia, severe acidosis and tachycardia were noticed. In PFC treated animals, an improvement in blood gases was noted and acid-base balance remained stable compared to saline-BAL treated animals. No haemodynamic change was observed during or after PFC-BAL, while during saline-BAL there was evidence of bradycardia, hypotension and respiratory failure, which led to the death of the animals. The histological lung sections in the PFC-BAL group showed evidence of normal alveolar expansion with a minimal presence of meconium debris in the small bronchioles. In saline-BAL treated animals, the lung structure appeared severely compromised with the presence of meconium in bronchioles and alveoli, intra-alveolar oedema and haemorrhagic areas.

Conclusions: This study confirms the detrimental effects of meconium aspiration and the impairment of lung function following saline-BAL. By contrast, PFC-BAL and TLV by gravity seemed to prevent absorption of meconium, facilitate its removal, improve gas exchange and reduce lung barotrauma.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage / methods*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage / statistics & numerical data
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Fluorocarbons / administration & dosage*
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lung / pathology
  • Male
  • Meconium Aspiration Syndrome / pathology
  • Meconium Aspiration Syndrome / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Random Allocation
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods*
  • Respiration, Artificial / statistics & numerical data
  • Sodium Chloride / administration & dosage*


  • Fluorocarbons
  • Sodium Chloride