Effect of routine suction on lung aeration in critically ill neonates and young infants measured with electrical impedance tomography

Claas Händel, Tobias Becher, Martijn Miedema, Merja Kallio, Thalia Papadouri, Andreas D. Waldmann, Louiza Sophocleous, Christina Karaoli, Rebecca Yerworth, Richard Bayford, Peter C. Rimensberger, Anton H. van Kaam, Inéz Frerichs

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Endotracheal suctioning is a widely used procedure to remove secretions from the airways of ventilated patients. Despite its prevalence, regional effects of this maneuver have seldom been studied. In this study, we explore its effects on regional lung aeration in neonates and young infants using electrical impedance tomography (EIT) as part of the large EU-funded multicenter observational study CRADL. 200 neonates and young infants in intensive care units were monitored with EIT for up to 72 h. EIT parameters were calculated to detect changes in ventilation distribution, ventilation inhomogeneity and ventilation quantity on a breath-by-breath level 5–10 min before and after suctioning. The intratidal change in aeration over time was investigated by means of regional expiratory time constants calculated from all respiratory cycles using an innovative procedure and visualized by 2D maps of the thoracic cross-section. 344 tracheal suctioning events from 51 patients could be analyzed. They showed no or very small changes of EIT parameters, with a dorsal shift of the center of ventilation by 0.5% of the chest diameter and a 7% decrease of tidal impedance variation after suctioning. Regional time constants did not change significantly. Routine suctioning led to EIT-detectable but merely small changes of the ventilation distribution in this study population. While still a measure requiring further study, the time constant maps may help clinicians interpret ventilation mechanics in specific cases.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20842
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023

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