Bedside Breath-Wise Visualization of Bronchospasm by Electrical Impedance Tomography Could Improve Perioperative Patient Safety: A Case Report

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Abstract

Bronchospasm appears in up to 4% of patients with obstructive lung disease or respiratory infection undergoing general anesthesia. Clinical examination alone may miss bronchospasm. As a consequence, subsequent (mis)treatment and ventilator settings could lead to pulmonary hyperinflation, hypoxia, hypercapnia, hypotension, patient–ventilator asynchrony, volutrauma, or barotrauma. Electrical impedance tomography (EIT), a new noninvasive technique, can potentially identify bronchospasms by determining regional expiratory time constants (τ) for each one of the pixels of a functional EIT image. We present the first clinical case that highlights the potential of breath-wise EIT-based τ images of the lung to quickly identify bronchospasm at the bedside, which could improve perioperative patient management and safety.

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