Positive end-expiratory pressure, pleural pressure, and regional compliance during Pronation An Experimental Study

Bhushan H. Katira, Kohei Osada, Doreen Engelberts, Luca Bastia, L. Felipe Damiani, Xuehan Li, Han Chan, Takeshi Yoshida, Marcelo B.P. Amato, Niall D. Ferguson, Martin Post, Brian P. Kavanagh, Laurent J. Brochard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Rationale: The physiological basis of lung protection and the impact of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) during pronation in acute respiratory distress syndrome are not fully elucidated. Objectives: To compare pleural pressure (Ppl) gradient, ventilation distribution, and regional compliance between dependent and nondependent lungs, and investigate the effect of PEEP during supination and pronation. Methods: We used a two-hit model of lung injury (saline lavage and high-volume ventilation) in 14 mechanically ventilated pigs and studied supine and prone positions. Global and regional lung mechanics including Ppl and distribution of ventilation (electrical impedance tomography) were analyzed across PEEP steps from 20 to 3 cm H2O. Two pigs underwent computed tomography scans: Tidal recruitment and hyperinflation were calculated. Measurements and Main Results: Pronation improved oxygenation, increased Ppl, thus decreasing transpulmonary pressure for any PEEP, and reduced the dorsal ventral pleural pressure gradient at PEEP,10 cm H2O. The distribution of ventilation was homogenized between dependent and nondependent while prone and was less dependent on the PEEP level than while supine. The highest regional compliance was achieved at different PEEP levels in dependent and nondependent regions in supine position (15 and 8 cm H2O), but for similar values in prone position (13 and 12 cm H2O). Tidal recruitment was more evenly distributed (dependent and nondependent), hyperinflation lower, and lungs cephalocaudally longer in the prone position. Conclusions: In this lung injury model, pronation reduces the vertical pleural pressure gradient and homogenizes regional ventilation and compliance between the dependent and nondependent regions. Homogenization is much less dependent on the PEEP level in prone than in supine positon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1266-1274
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2021


  • Acute lung injury
  • Positioning
  • Transpulmonary pressure
  • mechanical ventilation


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