Constant distending pressure when applied to the immature fetal lamb lung was reported to improve compliance and prevent the subsequent development of the respiratory distress syndrome after delivery. These experiments were designed to repeat those observations and identify the mechanism(s) responsible for the effects of constant pressure on subsequent lung function. The compliance of the lungs of exteriorized fetal lambs at 130 to 133 days gestational age increased 2.5-fold after 1 h of 15 cm of distending pressure. However, subsequent ventilation of the lambs exposed to distending pressure and control lambs resulted in comparable sequential compliance and blood gas and pH measurements. Severity of lung disease as reflected by the peak inspiratory pressure needed to normalize PCO2 values decreased as surfactant-saturated phosphatidylcholine pool sizes increased (r values > 0.90) and minimum surface tensions of alveolar washes decreased, but the distention procedure did not change these relationships. Distention of the fetal lung did result in an apparent increase in pulmonary blood flow in the fetus and an increased leak of labeled albumin from the vascular space to the lung interstitium and airways during the 1-h period of ventilation after delivery. However, the leak of protein into the lungs exposed to the distending pressures was not increased during the period of exteriorization and distention, suggesting that distention sensitized the preterm lung to leak protein with subsequent mechanical ventilation. The leak of labeled albumin out of the airways was not changed by distention, and total lung water was not changed. While the distention procedure increased the compliance of the fetal lung, the use of adequate opening pressures to initiate ventilation in control lambs resulted in an equivalent postnatal ventilatory status that correlated well with surfactant pool sizes. Distention of the fetal lung did not prevent the development of respiratory distress syndrome in these preterm lambs.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||American Review of Respiratory Disease|
|State||Published - 1987|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine