Controlled mechanical ventilation is used to deliver lung-protective ventilation in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome. Despite recognized benefits, such as preserved diaphragm activity, partial support ventilation modes may be incompatible with lung-protective ventilation due to high Vt and high transpulmonary pressure. As an alternative to high-dose sedatives and controlled mechanical ventilation, pharmacologically induced neuromechanical uncoupling of the diaphragm should facilitate lung-protective ventilation under partial support modes.Objectives:
To investigate whether partial neuromuscular blockade can facilitate lung-protective ventilation while maintaining diaphragm activity under partial ventilatory support.Methods:
In a proof-of-concept study, we enrolled 10 patients with lung injury and a Vt greater than 8 ml/kg under pressure support ventilation (PSV) and under sedation. After baseline measurements, rocuronium administration was titrated to a target Vt of 6 ml/kg during neurally adjusted ventilatory assist (NAVA). Thereafter, patients were ventilated in PSV and NAVA under continuous rocuronium infusion for 2 hours. Respiratory parameters, hemodynamic parameters, and blood gas values were measured.Measurements and Main Results:
Rocuronium titration resulted in significant declines of Vt (mean ± SEM, 9.3 ± 0.6 to 5.6 ± 0.2 ml/kg; P < 0.0001), transpulmonary pressure (26.7 ± 2.5 to 10.7 ± 1.2 cm H2O; P < 0.0001), and diaphragm electrical activity (17.4 ± 2.3 to 4.5 ± 0.7 μV; P < 0.0001), and could be maintained under continuous rocuronium infusion. During titration, pH decreased (7.42 ± 0.02 to 7.35 ± 0.02; P < 0.0001), and mean arterial blood pressure increased (84 ± 6 to 99 ± 6 mm Hg; P = 0.0004), as did heart rate (83 ± 7 to 93 ± 8 beats/min; P = 0.0004).Conclusions:
Partial neuromuscular blockade facilitates lung-protective ventilation during partial ventilatory support, while maintaining diaphragm activity, in sedated patients with lung injury.