Alveolar recruitment prevents rapid-reperfusion–induced injury of lung transplants
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BACKGROUND: Physical factors play an important role in ischemia-reperfusion-induced injury of lung transplants. For example, rapid restoration of reperfusion resulted in severe pulmonary edema and deterioration of pulmonary function of lung explants in an ex vivo reperfusion system. This type of injury can be prevented by a stepwise increase in the perfusion flow rate, or by adding prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) to the blood perfusate during the first 10 minutes. However, the mechanisms of these protective effects are unknown. We noted a dramatic decrease in airway pressure rather than pulmonary arterial pressure in these studies, suggesting that lung recruitment may be an important factor in minimizing injury. METHODS: In the present study, we examined the importance of alveolar recruitment in preventing rapid-reperfusion-induced lung injury. Rat lungs were flushed preserved with low potassium dextran solution for 12 hours at 4 degrees C. Lung explants were randomly divided into three groups: 1) untreated control; 2) lungs inflated to total lung capacity for 2 minutes; and 3) lungs ventilated for 10 minutes prior to reperfusion. Postpreservation lung function was assessed in an isolated rat lung reperfusion model. RESULTS: Rapid initiation of reperfusion led to severe pulmonary edema and significant pulmonary dysfunction. In inflation or ventilation groups, the injury was significantly attenuated. The PaO2 and shunt fractions in these lungs were comparable to normal lungs. A significant drop in airway pressure was observed in these two groups and the lung compliance in the inflation group was significantly better than other two groups. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that overcoming alveolar collapse with inflation or ventilation, may protect the lung from mechanical-stress-induced injury during reperfusion.
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