Continuous negative abdominal pressure: Mechanism of action and comparison with prone position

Takeshi Yoshida, Doreen Engelberts, Gail Otulakowski, Bhushan Katira, Niall D. Ferguson, Laurent Brochard, Marcelo B.P. Amato, Brian P. Kavanagh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We recently reported that continuous negative abdominal pressure (CNAP) could recruit dorsal atelectasis in experimental lung injury and that oxygenation improved at different transpulmonary pressure values compared with increases in airway pressure (Yoshida T, Engelberts D, Otulakowski G, Katira BH, Post M, Ferguson ND, Brochard L, Amato MBP, Kavanagh BP. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 197: 534 –537, 2018). The mechanism of recruitment with CNAP is uncertain, and its impact compared with a commonly proposed alternative approach to recruitment, prone positioning, is not known. We hypothesized that CNAP recruits lung by decreasing the vertical pleural pressure (Ppl) gradient (i.e., difference between dependent and nondependent Ppl), thought to be one mechanism of action of prone positioning. An established porcine model of lung injury (surfactant depletion followed by ventilator-induced lung injury) was used. CNAP was applied using a plexiglass chamber that completely enclosed the abdomen at a constant negative pressure (5 cmH2O). Lungs were recruited to maximal positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP; 25 cmH2O) and deflated in steps of PEEP (2 cmH2O, 10 min each). CNAP lowered the Ppl in dependent but not in nondependent lung, and therefore, in contrast to PEEP, it narrowed the vertical Ppl gradient. CNAP increased respiratory system compliance and oxygenation and appeared to selectively displace the posterior diaphragm caudad (computerized tomography images). Compared with prone position without CNAP, CNAP in the supine position was associated with higher arterial partial pressure of oxygen and compliance, as well as greater homogeneity of ventilation. The mechanism of action of CNAP appears to be via selective narrowing of the vertical gradient of Ppl. CNAP appears to offer physiological advantages over prone positioning. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Continuous negative abdominal pressure reduces the vertical gradient in (dependent vs. nondependent) pleural pressure and increases oxygenation and lung compliance; it is more effective than prone positioning at comparable levels of positive end-expiratory pressure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-116
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • ARDS
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Pleural pressure
  • Recruitment


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