OBJECTIVE:: In the semirecumbent position, gravity-dependent dissemination of pathogens has been implicated in the pathogenesis of ventilator-associated pneumonia. We compared the preventive effects of a ventilatory strategy, aimed at decreasing pulmonary aspiration and enhancing mucus clearance versus the Trendelenburg position. DESIGN:: Prospective randomized animal study. SETTING:: Animal research facility, University of Barcelona, Spain. SUBJECTS:: Twenty-four Large White-Landrace pigs. INTERVENTIONS:: Pigs were intubated and on mechanical ventilation for 72 hours. Following surgical preparation, pigs were randomized to be positioned: 1) in semirecumbent/prone position, ventilated with a duty cycle (TITTOT) of 0.33 and without positive end-expiratory pressure (control); 2) as in the control group, positive end-expiratory pressure of 5cm H2O and TITTOT to achieve a mean expiratory-inspiratory flow bias of 10L/min (treatment); 3) in Trendelenburg/prone position and ventilated as in the control group (Trendelenburg). Following randomization, Pseudomonas aeruginosa was instilled into the oropharynx. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:: Mucus clearance rate was measured through fluoroscopic tracking of tracheal markers. Microspheres were instilled into the subglottic trachea to assess pulmonary aspiration. Ventilator-associated pneumonia was confirmed by histological/microbiological studies. The mean expiratory-inspiratory flow in the treatment, control, and Trendelenburg groups were 10.7±1.7, 1.8±3.7 and 4.3±2.8L/min, respectively (p <0.001). Mucus clearance rate was 11.3±9.9mm/min in the Trendelenburg group versus 0.1±1.0 in the control and 0.2±1.0 in the treatment groups (p = 0.002). In the control group, we recovered 1.35% ± 1.24% of the instilled microspheres per gram of tracheal secretions, whereas 0.22% ± 0.25% and 0.97% ± 1.44% were recovered in the treatment and Trendelenburg groups, respectively (p = 0.031). Ventilator-associated pneumonia developed in 66.67%, 85.71%, and 0% of the animals in the control, treatment, and Trendelenburg groups (p <0.001). CONCLUSIONS:: The Trendelenburg position predominates over expiratory flow bias and positive end-expiratory pressure in the prevention of gravity-dependent translocation of oropharyngeal pathogens and development of ventilator-associated pneumonia. These findings further substantiate the primary role of gravity in the pathogenesis of ventilator-associated pneumonia.
- mechanical ventilation
- mucus clearance
- semirecumbent position
- ventilator-associated pneumonia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine