Bibiana Cujec, MD; Petr Polasek, MD; Irvin Mayers, MD; David Johnson, MD
To determine the effect of the presence of a patent foramen ovale on the right-to-left shunt in patients with respiratory failure who receive positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP).
Convenience sample with randomized application of PEEP.
General intensive care unit of a university teaching hospital.
A total of 46 mechanically ventilated patients with respiratory failure requiring an inspired oxygen concentration of at least 50% and a PEEP of at least 5 cm of H2O.
Randomized application of PEEP (0 and 10 cm of H2O).
A patent foramen ovale was detected by saline contrast transesophageal echocardiography. The alveolar-to-arterial oxygen difference and the right-to-left shunt were calculated from arterial and venous blood gas sampling.
In patients without a patent foramen ovale (n = 39), the alveolar-to-arterial oxygen difference and the shunt fraction decreased (50 mm Hg [95% CI, 21 to 67]and 0.05[CI, 0.03 to 0.07],respectively) after adding PEEP (10 cm of H2O). In patients with a patent foramen ovale (n = 7), minimal changes were noted in the alveolar-to-arterial oxygen difference (4 mm Hg, P > 0.2), but the shunt fraction increased (0.05, CI, 0 to 0.09). Adding PEEP (10 cm of H2O) increased the shunt fraction in 6 of 7 (86%) patients with a patent foramen ovale, whereas the shunt increased in only 7 of 39 (18%) patients without a patent foramen ovale (P < 0.007).
A patent foramen ovale was found in 7 of 46 patients (15%; CI, 6% to 29%) with acute respiratory failure. This condition is a common cause of lack of improvement in oxygenation with the addition of PEEP in the mechanically ventilated patient. In patients with a patent foramen ovale, the right-to-left shunt is usually increased by using PEEP.
Cujec B, Polasek P, Mayers I, Johnson D. Positive End-Expiratory Pressure Increases the Right-to-Left Shunt in Mechanically Ventilated Patients with Patent Foramen Ovale. Ann Intern Med. 1993;119:887–894. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-119-9-199311010-00004
Download citation file:
Published: Ann Intern Med. 1993;119(9):887-894.
Cardiology, Emergency Medicine, Mechanical Ventilation, Pulmonary/Critical Care.
Copyright © 2018 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
Conditions of Use