Phase-related changes in right ventricular cardiac output under volume-controlled mechanical ventilation with positive end-expiratory pressure

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To examine determinants of right ventricular function throughout the ventilatory cycle under volume-controlled mechanical ventilation with various positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) stages.


Prospective observational animal pilot study.


Animal research laboratory at a university hospital.


Eight healthy swine under volume- controlled mechanical ventilation.


Flow probes were implanted in eight swine in order to continuously measure blood flow in the pulmonary artery and inferior vena cava. After a recovery phase of 14 days, the swine were subjected to various PEEP stages (0, 5, 10 cm H (2) O) during volume-controlled positive pressure ventilation.

Measurements and Main Results

Continuous flow measurement took place in the pulmonary artery and inferior vena cava. Data on standard hemodynamic parameters were additionally acquired. Respiration-phase-specific analysis of right ventricular cardiac output and of additional hemodynamic function parameters followed, after calculation of mean values throughout five respiration cycles.


Increases in PEEP during volume-controlled mechanical ventilation leads to respiration-phase-specific reduction of right ventricular cardiac output, with a significantly pronounced decrease during the inspiration phase. This decrease in cardiac output should be taken into particular consideration for patients with already critically reduced cardiac output. (Crit Care Med 1999; 27:953-958)

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