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Online ISSN 1827-1596
Futier E. 1, 2, Constantin J.-M. 2, Jaber S. 1
1 Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care B (DAR B), Saint Eloi Teaching Hospital, Montpellier University Hospital, Montpellier, France;
2 University of Clermont-Ferrand, Clermont-Ferrand, France
Postoperative pulmonary and extrapulmonary complications adversely affect clinical outcomes and healthcare utilization, so that prevention has become a measure of the quality of perioperative care. Mechanical ventilation is an essential support therapy to maintain adequate gas exchange during general anesthesia for surgery. Mechanical ventilation using high tidal volume (VT) (between 10 and 15 mL/kg) has been historically encouraged to prevent hypoxemia and atelectasis formation in anesthetized patients undergoing abdominal and thoracic surgery. However, there is accumulating evidence from both experimental and clinical studies that mechanical ventilation, especially the use of high VT and plateau pressure, may potentially aggravate or even initiate lung injury. Ventilator-associated lung injury can result from cyclic alveolar overdistension of non-dependent lung tissue, and repetitive opening and closing of dependent lung tissue resulting in ultrastructural damage at the junction of closed and open alveoli. Lung-protective ventilation, which refers to the use of lower VT and limited plateau pressure to minimize overdistension, and positive end-expiratory pressure to prevent alveolar collapse at end-expiration, was shown to improve outcome in critically ill patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). It has been recently suggested that this approach might also be beneficial in a broader population, especially in critically ill patients without ARDS at the onset of mechanical ventilation. There is, however, little evidence regarding a potential beneficial effect of lung protective ventilation during surgery, especially in patients with healthy lungs. Although surgical patients are frequently exposed to much shorter periods of mechanical ventilation, this is an important gap in knowledge given the number of patients receiving mechanical ventilation in the operating room. This review developed the benefits of lung protective ventilation during surgery and general anesthesia and offers some recommendations for mechanical ventilation in the surgical context.