Comparison of two ventilatory strategies in elderly patients undergoing major abdominal surgery

T. N. Weingarten, F. X. Whalen, D. O. Warner, O. Gajic, G. J. Schears, M. R. Snyder, D. R. Schroeder, J. Sprung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Background'Open lung' ventilation is commonly used in patients with acute lung injury and has been shown to improve intraoperative oxygenation in obese patients undergoing laparoscopic surgery. The feasibility of an 'open lung' ventilatory strategy in elderly patients under general anaesthesia has not previously been assessed.Methods'Open lung' ventilation (recruitment manoeuvres, tidal volume 6 ml kg-1 predicted body weight, and 12 cm H2O PEEP) (RM group) was compared with conventional ventilation (no recruitment manoeuvres, tidal volume 10 ml kg-1 predicted body weight, and zero end-expiratory pressure) in elderly patients (>65 yr) undergoing major open abdominal surgery with regard to oxygenation, respiratory system mechanics, and haemodynamic stability. We also monitored the serum levels of the interleukins (IL)-6 and IL-8 before and after surgery to determine whether the systemic inflammatory response to surgery depends on the ventilatory strategy used.ResultsTwenty patients were included in each group. The RM group tolerated open lung ventilation without significant haemodynamic instability. Intraoperative Pao2 improved in the RM group (P<0.01) and deteriorated in controls (P=0.01), but postoperative Pao2 was similar in both groups. The RM group had improved breathing mechanics as evidenced by increased dynamic compliance (36%) and decreased airway resistance (21%). Both IL-6 and IL-8 significantly increased after surgery, but the magnitude of increase did not differ between the groups.ConclusionsA lung recruitment strategy in elderly patients is well tolerated and improves intraoperative oxygenation and lung mechanics during laparotomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalBritish journal of anaesthesia
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Aged
  • Anaesthesia, general
  • Positive-pressure respiration
  • Surgery
  • Ventilation, mechanical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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