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Effects of restricted thoracic movement on the regional distribution of ventilation

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Restricted thoracic movement is often encountered in patients, necessitating mechanical ventilation during surgery or intensive care treatment. High intraabdominal pressure, obesity or thorax rigidity and deformity reduce the chest distensibility and deteriorate the lung function. They render the selection of proper ventilator settings difficult and complicate the weaning process. Electrical impedance tomography (EIT) is currently being proposed as a bedside imaging method for monitoring regional lung ventilation. The objective of our study was to establish whether the effects of decreased chest compliance on regional lung ventilation can be determined by EIT. Methods:

Ten healthy male volunteers were studied in our pilot study under three conditions: (1) unrestricted breathing and (2) restricted breathing by abdominal and (3) lower rib cage strapping. The subjects were followed during spontaneous tidal breathing in five postures (sitting, supine, prone, left and right side). EIT and spirometry data were acquired in each condition. Results:

The distribution of ventilation in subjects with unrestricted breathing corresponded with the physiologically expected values. In the left and right lateral postures, abdominal and thoracic cage restrictions reduced the ventilation in the dependent lung areas; the non-dependent areas were unaffected. In the prone position, the ventilation of the dependent and non-dependent areas was reduced. The effects of strapping were least pronounced in the supine posture. Conclusions:

We conclude that EIT is able to measure changes in the regional distribution of ventilation induced by restricted chest movement and has the potential for optimising artificial ventilation in patients with limited chest compliance of different origins.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University Medical Center of Schleswig–Holstein, Campus Kiel,Kiel, Germany

Publication date: 2010-07-01

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