Jonne Doorduin, Joeke L. Nollet, Lisanne H. Roesthuis, Hieronymus W. H. van Hees, Laurent J. Brochard, Christer A. Sinderby, Johannes G. van der Hoeven, and Leo M. A. Heunks  Am. J. Resp. Crit. Care Med. Apr 15, 2017, vol. 195, no. 8: 1033-1042

Rationale: Controlled mechanical ventilation is used to deliver lung-protective ventilation in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome. Despite recognized benefits, such as preserved diaphragm activity, partial support ventilation modes may be incompatible with lung-protective ventilation due to high Vt and high transpulmonary pressure. As an alternative to high-dose sedatives and controlled mechanical ventilation, pharmacologically induced neuromechanical uncoupling of the diaphragm should facilitate lung-protective ventilation under partial support modes.

Objectives: To investigate whether partial neuromuscular blockade can facilitate lung-protective ventilation while maintaining diaphragm activity under partial ventilatory support.

Methods: In a proof-of-concept study, we enrolled 10 patients with lung injury and a Vt greater than 8 ml/kg under pressure support ventilation (PSV) and under sedation. After baseline measurements, rocuronium administration was titrated to a target Vt of 6 ml/kg during neurally adjusted ventilatory assist (NAVA). Thereafter, patients were ventilated in PSV and NAVA under continuous rocuronium infusion for 2 hours. Respiratory parameters, hemodynamic parameters, and blood gas values were measured.

Measurements and Main Results: Rocuronium titration resulted in significant declines of Vt (mean ± SEM, 9.3 ± 0.6 to 5.6 ± 0.2 ml/kg; P < 0.0001), transpulmonary pressure (26.7 ± 2.5 to 10.7 ± 1.2 cm H2O; P < 0.0001), and diaphragm electrical activity (17.4 ± 2.3 to 4.5 ± 0.7 μV; P < 0.0001), and could be maintained under continuous rocuronium infusion. During titration, pH decreased (7.42 ± 0.02 to 7.35 ± 0.02; P < 0.0001), and mean arterial blood pressure increased (84 ± 6 to 99 ± 6 mm Hg; P = 0.0004), as did heart rate (83 ± 7 to 93 ± 8 beats/min; P = 0.0004).

Conclusions: Partial neuromuscular blockade facilitates lung-protective ventilation during partial ventilatory support, while maintaining diaphragm activity, in sedated patients with lung injury.

Weblink here