Perfluorocarbon-associated gas exchange

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Background and Methods

Liquid ventilation with oxygenated perfluorocarbon eliminates surface tension due to pulmonary air/fluid interfaces, and improves pulmonary function and gas exchange in surfactant deficiency. In liquid ventilation, perfluorocarbon is oxygenated, purged of CO2, and cycled into and out of the lungs using an investigational device. A new approach, perfluorocarbonassociated gas exchange, uses a conventional ventilator and combines features of liquid ventilation and continuous positive-pressure breathing. In 13 normal piglets, a volume of perfluorocarbon equivalent to the normal functional residual capacity (30 mL/kg) was instilled into the trachea, left in situ, and volume-regulated gas ventilation (FIO2 1.0) was resumed. For 1 hr, perfluorocarbon was continuously bubble-oxygenated within the lungs, where it directly participated in gas exchange.


PaO2 and Paco2 averaged 401 ± 51 and 40 ± 4 torr (53.6 ± 6.8 and 5.3 ± 0.5 kPa), respectively. Peak airway pressure during perfluorocarbon-associated gas exchange (22 ± 2 cm H2O at 1 hr) and during continuous, positive-pressure breathing (23 4 cm H2O) were nearly identical. Venous oxygen saturation and pH were normal (73 ± 8% and 7.43 ± 0.05, respectively, at 1 hr).


Perfluorocarbon-associated gas exchange was uniformly well tolerated, and its efficiency approached that of continuous positive-pressure breathing. Applications of perfluorocarbon technology to lung disease may not be limited by existing instrumentation. (Crit Care Med 1991; 19:712)

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