Bubble CPAP Support after Discontinuation of Mechanical Ventilation Protects Rat Lungs with Ventilator-Induced Lung Injury

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Abstract

Background:

Bubble continuous positive airway pressure (BCPAP) has been used in neonates with respiratory distress for decades, but its lung-protective effect and underlying mechanism has not been investigated.

Objectives:

To test the hypothesis that BCPAP use after extubation decreases lung injury and that alterations to lung nitric oxide synthase (NOS) 3 expression may be one of the underlying mechanisms.

Methods:

We compared gas exchange, lung injury severity, and lung NOS expression among rats with ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI) treated with either BCPAP or spontaneous breathing. After high tidal volume ventilation for 30 min, the rats were randomly divided to three groups: a control group underwent spontaneous breathing (n = 7), and two BCPAP groups were treated with the bubble technique with either a 2.5-mm-diameter (n = 7) or a 5.5-mm-diameter (n = 7) expiratory limb for 2 h.

Results:

The bubble technique (2.5 and 5.5 mm diameter combined) resulted in a significantly higher Pao2, decreased alveolar protein levels (1.01 vs. 1.43 mg/kg, p < 0.05), a lower lung injury score (3.87 vs. 4.86, p < 0.05), and decreased NOS3 expression (1.99 vs. 3.32, p < 0.05) compared to spontaneous breathing in the control group. BCPAP with a 2.5-mm-diameter and with a 5.5-mm-diameter expiratory limb was not different with regard to gas exchange, alveolar protein levels, and lung injury scores, but there was a trend for lower NOS3 expression in the 5.5-mm group (1.41 vs. 2.56, p = 0.052).

Conclusions:

BCPAP decreases lung injury in rats with VILI after stopping mechanical ventilation. Attenuation of lung NOS3 expression may be one of the underlying mechanisms.

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