Background

Despite previous reports suggesting that pressure support ventilation facilitates weaning from mechanical ventilation in the intensive care unit, few studies have assessed its effects on recovery from anesthesia. The authors hypothesized that pressure support ventilation during emergence from anesthesia reduces postoperative atelectasis in patients undergoing laparoscopic surgery using the Trendelenburg position.

Methods

In this randomized controlled double-blinded trial, adult patients undergoing laparoscopic colectomy or robot-assisted prostatectomy were assigned to either the pressure support (n = 50) or the control group (n = 50). During emergence (from the end of surgery to extubation), pressure support ventilation was used in the pressure support group versus intermittent manual assistance in the control group. The primary outcome was the incidence of atelectasis diagnosed by lung ultrasonography at the postanesthesia care unit (PACU). The secondary outcomes were Pao2 at PACU and oxygen saturation measured by pulse oximetry less than 92% during 48 h postoperatively.

Results

Ninety-seven patients were included in the analysis. The duration of emergence was 9 min and 8 min in the pressure support and control groups, respectively. The incidence of atelectasis at PACU was lower in the pressure support group compared to that in the control group (pressure support vs. control, 16 of 48 [33%] vs. 28 of 49 [57%]; risk ratio, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.35 to 0.91; P = 0.024). In the PACU, Pao2 in the pressure support group was higher than that in the control group (92 ± 26 mmHg vs. 83 ± 13 mmHg; P = 0.034). The incidence of oxygen saturation measured by pulse oximetry less than 92% during 48 h postoperatively was not different between the groups (9 of 48 [19%] vs. 11 of 49 [22%]; P = 0.653). There were no adverse events related to the study protocol.

Conclusions

The incidence of postoperative atelectasis was lower in patients undergoing either laparoscopic colectomy or robot-assisted prostatectomy who received pressure support ventilation during emergence from general anesthesia compared to those receiving intermittent manual assistance.

Editor’s Perspective
What We Already Know about This Topic
  • Pressure support ventilation modalities are now standard on newer anesthesia machines and are commonly used during emergence from anesthesia

  • Their benefits in preventing postoperative atelectasis have not been well studied

What This Article Tells Us That Is New
  • A randomized trial in patients undergoing laparoscopic colectomy or robot-assisted prostatectomy compared pressure support ventilation to spontaneous ventilation with intermittent manual assistance during anesthetic emergence

  • The outcome was atelectasis in the postanesthesia recovery unit, using lung ultrasound

  • The incidence of atelectasis was significantly lower and the Pao2 was significantly higher with pressure support ventilation; however, in the 48-h postoperative observation period, the incidence of oxygen saturation measured by pulse oximetry less than 92% was not different between groups

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