The effects of the exaggerated lithotomy position for radical perineal prostatectomy on respiratory mechanics

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The exaggerated lithotomy position is used during radical perineal prostatectomy to increase perineal exposure. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of the exaggerated lithotomy position on respiratory mechanics and arterial blood gases. In the exaggerated lithotomy position, dynamic compliance and static compliance were found to be significantly decreased by 27.4% and 34.8%, respectively, whilst peak, plateau, and mean airway pressures increased significantly by 34.0%, 45.8% and 31.7%, respectively. The physiological dead space/tidal volume ratio and total inspiratory work of breathing increased significantly by 11.1% and 33.7%, respectively. Arterial oxygen tension was significantly decreased by 26.9%; however, no significant differences were seen in end-tidal or arterial carbon dioxide tension. These results indicate that the exaggerated lithotomy position under general anaesthesia can cause significant effects on respiratory system mechanics and arterial oxygenation and highlights the need for careful monitoring of patients placed in this position for surgery.

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