Salmeterol improves fluid clearance from alveolar-capillary membrane in COPD patients: A pilot study

Fabiano Di Marco, Marco Guazzi, Giuseppe Francesco Sferrazza Papa, Marco Vicenzi, Pierachille Santus, Paolo Busatto, Federico Piffer, Francesco Blasi, Stefano Centanni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The cardiovascular component associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) plays a major role in disease prognosis, accounting for 25% of the deaths. Experimental and initial clinical data suggest that beta-adrenergic agonists accelerate fluid clearance from the alveolar airspace, with potentially positive effects on cardiogenic and noncardiogenic pulmonary oedema. This pilot study investigated the acute effects of the long-acting beta-2 agonist, salmeterol, on alveolar fluid clearance after rapid saline intravenous infusion by evaluating diffusive and mechanical lung properties. Ten COPD and 10 healthy subjects were treated with salmeterol or placebo 4h before the patient's mechanical and diffusive lung properties were measured during four non consecutive days, just before and after a rapid saline infusion, or during a similar period without an infusion. Results: In both COPD and healthy subjects, rapid saline infusion with placebo or salmeterol premedication lead to a significant decrease in diffusion capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO) and forced expiratory volume in 1s (FEV1). Nonetheless, salmeterol pretreatment lead to a significantly reduced gas exchange impairment caused by saline infusion (-64% of DLCO reduction compared with placebo), whereas it did not affect changes in FEV1. In the control setting with no infusion, we found no significant change in either DLCO or mechanical properties of the lung. Conclusions: Salmeterol appears to provide a protective effect, not related to bronchodilation, against an acute alveolar fluid clearance challenge secondary to lung fluid overload in COPD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-123
Number of pages5
JournalPulmonary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • Bronchodilator agents
  • COPD
  • Salmeterol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Biochemistry, medical

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