OBJECTIVES AND SUMMARY BACKGROUND: Low tidal volume ventilation (LTV) has improved survival with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) by reducing lung stretch associated with volutrauma and barotrauma. Additional strategies to reduce lung stretch include arteriovenous carbon dioxide removal (AVCO2R), and high frequency percussive ventilation (HFPV). We performed a prospective, randomized study comparing these techniques in our clinically relevant LD100 sheep model of ARDS to compare survival, pathology, and inflammation between the 3 ventilator methods. METHODS: Adult sheep (n = 61) received smoke inhalation (48 breaths) and a 40% third-degree burn. After ARDS developed (Pao2/FiO2 <200), animals were randomized. In experiment 1, animals were killed at 48 hours after randomization. Hemodynamics, pulmonary function, injury scores, myeloperoxidase (MPO) in lung tissues and neutrophils, IL-8 in lung tissues, and apoptosis were evaluated. In experiment 2, the end point was survival to 72 hours after onset of ARDS or end-of-life criteria with extension of the same studies performed in experiment 1. RESULTS: There were no differences in hemodynamics, but minute ventilation was lower in the AVCO2R group and Paco2 for the HFPV and AVCO2R animals remained lower than LTV. Airway obstruction and injury scores were not different among the 3 ventilation strategies. In experiment 1, lung tissue MPO and IL-8 were not different among the ventilation strategies. However, in experiment 2, lung tissue MPO was significantly lower for AVCO2R-treated animals (AVCO2R < HFPV < LTV). TUNEL staining showed little DNA breakage in neutrophils from experiment 1, but significantly increased breakage in all 3 ventilator strategies in experiment 2. In contrast, AVCO2R tissue neutrophils showed significant apoptosis at 72 hours post-ARDS criteria as measured by nuclear condensation (P < 0.001). Survival 72 hours post-ARDS criteria was highest for AVCO2R (71%) compared with HFPV (55%) and LTV (33%) (AVCO2R vs. LTV, P = 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Significantly more animals survived AVCO2R than LTV. In experiment 2, Lung MPO was significantly lower for AVCO2R, compared with LTV (P < 0.05). This finding taken together with the TUNEL and neutrophil apoptosis results, suggested that disposition of neutrophils 72 hours post-ARDS criteria was different among the ventilatory strategies with neutrophils from AVCO2R-treated animals removed chiefly through apoptosis, but in the cases of HFPV and LTV, dying by necrosis in lung tissue.
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