Hemodynamic effects of lung recruitment maneuvers in acute respiratory distress syndrome

Anup Das, Mainul Haque, Marc Chikhani, Oana Cole, Wenfei Wang, Jonathan G. Hardman, Declan G. Bates

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Background: Clinical trials have, so far, failed to establish clear beneficial outcomes of recruitment maneuvers (RMs) on patient mortality in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and the effects of RMs on the cardiovascular system remain poorly understood.

Methods: A computational model with highly integrated pulmonary and cardiovascular systems was configured to replicate static and dynamic cardio-pulmonary data from clinical trials. Recruitment maneuvers (RMs) were executed in 23 individual in-silico patients with varying levels of ARDS severity and initial cardiac output. Multiple clinical variables were recorded and analyzed, including arterial oxygenation, cardiac output, peripheral oxygen delivery and alveolar strain.

Results: The maximal recruitment strategy (MRS) maneuver, which implements gradual increments of positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP) followed by PEEP titration, produced improvements in PF ratio, carbon dioxide elimination and dynamic strain in all 23 in-silico patients considered. Reduced cardiac output in the moderate and mild in-silico ARDS patients produced significant drops in oxygen delivery during the RM (average decrease of 423 ml min−1 and 526 ml min−1, respectively). In the in-silico patients with severe ARDS, however, significantly improved gas-exchange led to an average increase of 89 ml min−1 in oxygen delivery during the RM, despite a simultaneous fall in cardiac output of more than 3 l min−1 on average. Post RM increases in oxygen delivery were observed only for the in-silico patients with severe ARDS. In patients with high baseline cardiac outputs (>6.5 l min−1), oxygen delivery never fell below 700 ml min−1.

Conclusions: Our results support the hypothesis that patients with severe ARDS and significant numbers of alveolar units available for recruitment may benefit more from RMs. Our results also indicate that a higher than normal initial cardiac output may provide protection against the potentially negative effects of high intrathoracic pressures associated with RMs on cardiac function. Results from in-silico patients with mild or moderate ARDS suggest that the detrimental effects of RMs on cardiac output can potentially outweigh the positive effects of alveolar recruitment on oxygenation, resulting in overall reductions in tissue oxygen delivery.
Original languageEnglish
Article number34
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number1
Early online date8 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • RCUK
  • MRC
  • MR/K019783/1


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