Effects of respiratory mechanical unloading on thoracoabdominal motion in meconium-injured piglets and rabbits

Andreas Schulze, Cleide Suguihara, Tilo Gerhardt, Peter Schaller, Nelson Claure, Ruth Everett, Eduardo Bancalari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Impaired pulmonary mechanics can cause chest wall distortion (CWD) so that work of breathing is dissipated in deforming the rib cage. We hypothesized that respiratory mechanical unloading as a technique of assisted mechanical ventilation would reduce CWD in animals with injured lungs. We studied five piglets and five adult rabbits to test across different ages and chest configurations. As a result of intratracheal meconium instillation, lung compliance decreased from 21 (median; range 17-35) to 9.5 (6.7-14) mL/kPa/kg in rabbits and from 26 (1831) to 7.9 (4.9-11) in piglets. Airway resistance increased from 5.0 (4.6-6.1) to 6.9 (5.8-7.9) kPa/L/s in rabbits only. Respiratory inductive plethysmography was used to measure the phase shift between the rib cage and abdominal compartment movements and the total compartmental displacement ratio. We aimed at unloading at least three- fourths of lung elastance in all animals and 2.0 kPa/L/s of resistance in rabbits. Elastic unloading decreased the phase shift in all but one animal. It reduced the total compartmental displacement ratio from 1.27 (1.14 -3.73) to 1.16 (1.02-1.82) in piglets and from 1.77 (1.45-5.24) to 1.37 (1.114.78) in rabbits. The inspiratory rib cage expansion increased, whereas abdominal expansion did not. The tidal esophageal pressure deflection decreased. Tidal volume increased, whereas respiratory rate remained unaffected so that the partial pressure of arterial CO2 decreased. Resistive unloading as an adjunct to elastic unloading further reduced CWD and induced a more rapid, shallower breathing. We conclude that respiratory unloading as a mechanical support to spontaneous breathing reduces CWD. We speculate that the decrease in CWD increases ventilatory efficiency for a given diaphragmatic effort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-197
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of respiratory mechanical unloading on thoracoabdominal motion in meconium-injured piglets and rabbits'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this