Recruitment maneuvers in acute respiratory distress syndrome and during general anesthesia

Davide Chiumello, Ilaria Algieri, Salvatore Grasso, Pierpaolo Terragni, Paolo Pelosi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of low tidal volume ventilation and low to moderate positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) levels is a widespread strategy to ventilate patients with non-injured lungs during general anesthesia and in intensive care as well with mild to moderate acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Higher PEEP levels have been recommended in severe ARDS. Due to the presence of alveolar collapse, recruitment maneuvers (RMs) by causing a transient elevation in airway pressure (i.e.Transpulmonary pressure) have been suggested to improve lung inflation in non-inflated and poorly-inflated lung regions. Various types of RMs such as sustained inflation at high pressure, intermittent sighs and stepwise increases of PEEP and/or airway plateau inspiratory pressure have been proposed. The use of RMs has been associated with mixed results in terms of physiological and clinical outcomes. The optimal method for RMs has not yet been identified. The use of RMs is not standardized and left to the individual physician based on his/her experience. Based on the same grounds, RMs have been proposed to improve lung aeration during general anesthesia. The aim of this review was to present the clinical evidence supporting the use of RMs in patients with ARDS and during general anesthesia and as well their potential biological effects in experimental models of acute lung injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-220
Number of pages11
JournalMinerva Anestesiologica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome.
  • General anesthesia
  • Mechanical ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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