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Korean J Anesthesiol > Volume 73(6); 2020 > Article
Lee, Kim, Mun, Lee, and Ko: Effects of hypercarbia on arterial oxygenation during one-lung ventilation: prospective randomized crossover study

Abstract

Background

This study aimed to evaluate the effects of hypercarbia on arterial oxygenation during one-lung ventilation (OLV).

Methods

Fifty adult patients undergoing elective video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy or pneumonectomy were enrolled. Group I patients (n = 25) were first maintained at normocarbia (PaCO2: 38–42 mmHg) for 30 min and then at hypercarbia (45–50 mmHg). In Group II patients (n = 25), PaCO2 was maintained in the reverse order. Arterial oxygen partial pressure (PaO2), respiratory variables, hemodynamic variables, and hemoglobin concentration were compared during normocarbia and hypercarbia. Arterial O2 content and O2 delivery were calculated.

Results

PaO2 values during normocarbia and hypercarbia were 66.5 ± 10.6 and 79.7 ± 17.3 mmHg, respectively (mean difference: 13.2 mmHg, 95% CI for difference of means: 17.0 to 9.3, P < 0.001). SaO2 values during normocarbia and hypercarbia were 92.5 ± 4.8% and 94.3 ± 3.1% (P = 0.009), respectively. Static compliance of the lung (33.0 ± 5.4 vs. 30.4 ± 5.3 ml/cmH2O, P < 0.001), arterial O2 content (15.4 ± 1.4 vs. 14.9 ± 1.5 ml/dl, P < 0.001) and O2 delivery (69.9 ± 18.4 vs. 65.1 ± 18.1 ml/min, P < 0.001) were significantly higher during hypercarbia than during normocarbia.

Conclusions

Hypercarbia increases PaO2 and O2 carrying capacity and improves pulmonary mechanics during OLV, suggesting that it may help manage oxygenation during OLV. Therefore, permissive hypercarbia may be a simple and valuable modality to manage arterial oxygenation during OLV.

Introduction

Presently, many thoracic surgeries require one-lung ventilation (OLV) to improve the operation field and expedite the operation. During OLV, maintenance of adequate arterial oxygenation is a major concern to anesthesiologists. In previous studies, 4–27% of patients undergoing OLV developed arterial hypoxemia [13]. Because a collapsed lung is not ventilated but perfused, a transpulmonary shunt is inevitably developed, which leads to impairment of oxygenation. In addition, atelectatic and hypoventilated areas are increased in the dependent ventilated lung by the positional effects during thoracic surgery with OLV in the lateral position, which contributes to ventilation/perfusion mismatch and decreases arterial oxygen partial pressure (PaO2).
Hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction (HPV) is a physiologic mechanism that decreases blood flow to hypoxic or atelectatic lung regions by arteriolar vasoconstriction via a pathway involving nitric oxide and/or cyclooxygenase synthesis inhibition [4]. HPV diverts pulmonary blood flow from poorer ventilated areas to better areas of the lung, reducing the shunt fraction, and improving oxygenation [5,6]. Although HPV reduces shunt flow, 15–40% of pulmonary blood shunts to the left heart during OLV [7]. Recommendations to prevent arterial hypoxemia during OLV include the use of high inspired fraction of oxygen (FiO2), application of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) to the dependent lung, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to the non-dependent lung [8]. However, these techniques are inadequate for maintaining adequate oxygenation in some patients undergoing OLV.
In clinical practice, many patients have hypercarbia due to decreased minute ventilation and increased dead-space ventilation during OLV compared to two-lung ventilation (TLV). Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a potent vasodilator in cerebral and systemic circulation [9,10]. However, the effect of CO2 on pulmonary circulation is unclear. In previous studies [1014], the effects of CO2 on pulmonary vessels varied by the experiment species and pulmonary vascular tone. Most previous studies were conducted on ventilated lungs, but studies on OLV subjects are rare. If CO2 dilates the pulmonary artery in the ventilated lung or constricts the pulmonary artery in the non-ventilated lung, then hypercarbia may increase arterial oxygenation during OLV. If CO2 has the opposite effects, then hypercarbia should be avoided.
We hypothesized that hypercarbia increases arterial oxygenation compared to normocarbia during OLV. The primary purpose of this prospective, randomized crossover study was to evaluate the effects of hypercarbia on arterial oxygenation during OLV.

Materials and Methods

The clinical research was done following the ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration 2013. This prospective, randomized crossover study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Chonbuk National University Hospital and registered with the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (KCT0003185). Written informed consent was obtained from all participants. Fifty adult patients who were assigned American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status I or II, and who underwent elective video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy or pneumonectomy due to lung cancer were enrolled in the study. Patients who presented cardiac arrhythmia, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, restrictive pulmonary disease or increased intracerebral pressure were excluded. Arterial oxygenation can be greatly affected by surgical process such as ligation of the pulmonary vessels in the collapsed surgical lung. Therefore, we divided the patients into two groups by order of intervention, although it was a crossover comparison. After initiation of OLV, Group I patients were first maintained at normal arterial CO2 partial pressure (normocarbia, PaCO2: 38–42 mmHg) for 30 min (OLV-1) and then at high PaCO2 (hypercarbia, 45–50 mmHg) for 30 min (OLV-2). In Group II patients, PaCO2 was maintained in the reverse order (OLV-1, hypercarbia; and OLV-2, normocarbia). Subjects were randomly assigned using a computer-generated block randomization scheme to one of two groups (1 : 1 allocation ratio).
The anesthetic regimen was standardized for all patients. After placement of the electrocardiogram, pulse oximetry, non-invasive blood pressure, bispectral index (BIS) and peripheral nerve stimulator, anesthesia was induced with 1.0–1.5 mg/kg propofol, 4–6 ng/ml effect-site concentration of remifentanil, and 1.0 mg/kg rocuronium. Remifentanil was administered using a Minto model effect-site target-controlled infusion pump (Orchestra® Base Primea, Fresenius Vial, France). Patients were manually ventilated using a face mask with sevoflurane (4.0 vol% in 50% oxygen) until a train-of-four count of 0 in the peripheral nerve stimulator was obtained. Female and male patients were intubated with a 35 or 37 Fr. and 37 or 39 Fr. left-sided double-lumen tube (Shiley™ Endobronchial tube left, Covidien, USA), respectively. The double-lumen tube was positioned using a fiberoptic bronchoscope. After induction of anesthesia, a 20-gauge arterial catheter was inserted into the brachial artery in the non-dominant hand. The brachial artery catheter was connected to the FloTracTM transducer (Edwards Lifesciences, USA) coupled to both an anesthesia workstation (Primus Infinity® Empowered, Dräger, Germany) and EV1000TM (software version 1.5, Edwards Lifesciences) for hemodynamic measurements, including invasive blood pressure (IBP), cardiac index (CI), stroke volume variation (SVV), and systemic vascular resistance index (SVRI). The right subclavian vein was catheterized under ultrasono-guide for intravenous fluid line, central venous blood gas analysis, and central venous pressure (CVP) measurement. Pressure transducers were zeroed at the cardiac level to atmospheric pressure.
Lungs were mechanically ventilated with 0.5 of FiO2 using a tidal volume (TV) of 6–8 ml/kg predicted body weight, an inspiratory to expiratory ratio of 1 : 2, an inspiratory pause of 25% of total inspiration time, and 5 cmH2O of PEEP. The ventilatory rate was adjusted to maintain normocapnia. Anesthesia was maintained with sevoflurane and remifentanil. Fresh gas flow was fixed 3 L/min. The end-expiratory sevoflurane concentration was fixed to 1.0 vol%. Arterial blood pressure was kept within 20% of preanesthetic values by adjustment of remifentanil concentration. Initially, the end-tidal CO2 (ETCO2) and BIS value were maintained at 35–38 mmHg and 40–60, respectively. If the patient showed > 60 BIS value, the patient received midazolam and was excluded from the data analysis.
After changing to the lateral position, the double-lumen tube position was reconfirmed using a fiberoptic bronchoscope. An arterial and central venous blood sample was obtained in the lateral position with two-lung ventilation after an alveolar recruit maneuver. After arterial blood gas analysis, the difference between PaCO2 and ETCO2 was evaluated. During OLV, TV was not changed. The FiO2 was initially set at 0.5 and adjusted to maintain arterial O2 saturation above 90%. The FiO2 was not changed during the study period. If the patients showed pulse oximetric oxygen saturation (SpO2) lower than 90% in FiO2 0.5, the FiO2 was increased and the patients were excluded from the data analysis. The ventilatory rate was adjusted to maintain the preset target PaCO2. In all patients, normocarbia and hypercarbia periods were stable for 30 min because HPV reaches a plateau by 20–30 min [15,16].
The primary endpoint of the study was PaO2 in normocarbia and hypercarbia during OLV. The PaO2 was recorded at TLV and at normocarbia and hypercarbia during OLV. At the time of measurement, the following respiratory and hemodynamic variables were recorded: expiratory TV, ventilatory rate, peak inspiratory pressure (PIP), plateau pressure (PPL), IBP, CVP, CI, SVV, and SVRI. The dynamic (Cdyn) and static compliances (Cstat) were calculated using the following equations: Cdyn = TV/ PIP - PEEP and Cstat = TV/ PPL - PEEP. Arterial blood gas, hemoglobin (Hg) concentration, and lactate concentration were also recorded. Central venous blood gas analysis was performed to measure oxygen partial pressure (PcvO2) and saturation (ScvO2) of central venous blood. Arterial O2 content (CaO2) was calculated by the following equation: CaO2 = 1.39 × Hg concentration × SaO2 + 0.0031 × PaO2. Oxygen delivery (DO2) was calculated by the following equation: DO2 = CaO2 × CO.

Statistical analysis

The sample size was predetermined by paired t-test sample size test using SigmaPlot 13.0 (Systat Software Inc., USA) based on the assumption that a pilot study of ten patients for PaO2 difference between hypercarbia and normocarbia during OLV, which was the primary endpoint, showed an average of 10 mmHg and a standard deviation of 18 mmHg. For PaO2 difference, a value of ≥ 10 mmHg was considered as clinically significantly different. It was determined that 34 patients were required to obtain a difference in mean PaO2 of 10 mmHg for an expected standard deviation of 20 mmHg with a significance level of 0.05 (α = 0.05) and a power of 80% (β = 0.20). To allow for attrition, the sample size was increased to 50 patients.
The PaO2 measured for OLV-1 and OLV-2 were analyzed via linear mixed-effects (LME) modeling using SPSS 23.0 (IBM Corp., USA). The linear mixed model included the variables id (random effect), presence of hypercarbia (OLV-1 and OLV-2), the sequence of ventilation (OLV-1 first versus OLV-2 first) and interaction between the presence of hypercarbia and the sequence of ventilation. The LME modeling produced a restricted maximum likelihood estimation fit. The LME modeling was used to assess whether there was a differential carryover effect of the first given treatment. Patient and clinical characteristics were analyzed with unpaired t-tests or Chi-square tests. The blood gas analysis, hemodynamic variables, and respiratory variables were compared with unpaired t-tests between Group I and II. Data are presented as the mean ± SD. The α value adjustment with Bonferroni correction was made to compensate for multiple comparisons within primary outcomes. The α value was adjusted to 0.016 instead of 0.05. The P values were compared with this adjusted α value in interpreting primary outcome measures. Otherwise, P values < 0.05 indicated statistical significance.

Results

Of the 50 allocated surgical patients, five patients, whose pulmonary artery was ligated before final measurement, and five patients, who showed arterial oxygen saturation less than 90% despite FiO2 1.0, thus, requiring CPAP to the non-dependent lung, were excluded from the analysis (Fig. 1). During OLV, 40, four, and six patients were maintained with FiO2 0.5, 0.8, and 1.0, respectively. No patient required transfusion during the operation. The demographic and preoperative clinical characteristics of the patients are shown in Table 1. The differential carryover effect of a preceding ventilation technique over the following ventilation technique and interaction between presence of hypercarbia and the sequence of ventilation were statistically insignificant (P = 0.771 and P = 0.713).
The PaCO2 values during normocarbia and hypercarbia were 38.8 ± 2.6 and 48.2 ± 2.4 mmHg (mean ± SD), respectively. In both groups, PaO2 was significantly decreased to convert from TLV to OLV, but PaO2 was higher during hypercarbia than normocarbia. PaO2 values during normocarbia and hypercarbia were 66.5 ± 10.6 and 79.7 ± 17.3 mmHg, respectively, (mean difference: 13.2 mmHg, 95% CI for difference of means: 17.0 to 9.3, P < 0.001). Arterial O2 saturation (SaO2) values during normocarbia and hypercarbia were 92.5 ± 4.8% and 94.3 ± 3.1% (P = 0.009), respectively. For individual patients, PaO2 was increased by changing the PaCO2 from normocarbia to hypercarbia in 37 of 40 patients (93%) (Fig. 2.). During normocarbia, pH was 7.42 ± 0.04, but 7.35 ± 0.04 during hypercarbia (P < 0.001).
Although fixed TV was applied, PIP and PPL were significantly lower during hypercarbia than normocarbia in both groups. Based on these results, Cdyn and Cstat were higher during hypercarbia than normocarbia (Table 2). The hemodynamic variables, including IBP, HR, CI, CVP, SVV, and SVRI, as well as the Hg concentration and BIS during normocarbia, were comparable to hypercarbia in both groups. However, CaO2 and DO2 were significantly higher during hypercarbia than during normocarbia (Table 3). PcvO2, ScvO2, and lactate concentration were significantly different between normocarbia and hypercarbia in both groups (Table 4).

Discussion

Although OLV provides optimum surgical conditions during thoracic surgery, it is associated with impairment of gas exchange. In addition to arterial hypoxemia, hypercarbia is commonly developed during OLV. Because atelectasis may readily occur in the dependent lung, the application of PEEP is necessary to prevent atelectasis during OLV. Increased lung volume and PEEP elevate airway pressure. Increased airway pressure may impede perfusion of the dependent lung, leading to dead-space ventilation. Increased dead-space ventilation may cause hypoventilation and hypercarbia [17]. Additionally, anesthesiologists are apt to reduce TV to prevent increased PIP during OLV. For these reasons, hypercarbia is common in arterial blood gas analysis during OLV in clinical practice. In the present study, moderate hypercarbia increased PaO2, SaO2, CaO2, DO2, PcvO2, ScvO2, Cdyn, and Cstat but decreased airway pressure and lactate concentration. These results were considered as positive effects on gas exchange during OLV.
The main cause of hypoxemia during OLV is the intrapulmonary shunt through the non-dependent, non-ventilated lung. The alveolar collapse in the non-dependent lung activates HPV, leading to an increase in resistance to flow in the dependent pulmonary artery, thus diverting more perfusion to the ventilated, dependent lung. In the present study, increased PaO2 reflected as decreased intrapulmonary shunt during hypercarbia. Although the mechanism was not clarified, hypercarbia may increase pulmonary vascular resistance in the non-dependent lung or decrease pulmonary vascular resistance in the dependent, ventilated lung. A pulmonary vasoconstrictor almitrine enhances HPV and prevents OLV-induced decrease in PaO2 [18,19]. Inhaled nitric oxide has selective pulmonary vasorelaxation in the dependent, ventilated lung during OLV. Therefore, both almitrine and nitric oxide increase arterial oxygenation during OLV. Chuang et al. [11,20] reported that inhaled CO2 has vasodilatory effects and reverses pulmonary hypertension induced by hypoxia in isolated perfused rat lungs. Previous studies have indicated that CO2 is a mild vasoconstrictor during basal tone condition but is a potent vasodilator at high pulmonary vascular resistance [14,2124]. Unfortunately, the present results did not provide a mechanism because pulmonary vascular resistance and pulmonary blood flow were not measured in both lungs.
In the present study, the pH value was decreased by 0.06–0.08 during hypercarbia compared to normocarbia. A low pH shifts the oxyhemoglobin dissociation curve to the right by Bohr effects. As the curve shifts to the right, the SaO2 for given PaO2 decreases, i.e., decreased Hg affinity for O2 [25]. As the pH decreases from 7.40 to 7.35, like the decrease in the present study, Hg releases O2 more readily to tissues, although oxygen uptake is reduced from the alveoli. Respiratory acidosis can potentiate HPV [26]. Although the increase of PaO2 was not excluded by the effects of acidosis in our results, hypercarbia provides positive effects to the management of arterial hypoxemia during OLV in conjunction with increased CaO2 and DO2. Accordingly, blood lactate concentration was lower during hypercarbia than normocarbia in both groups, although the values were considered within normal ranges.
In the present study, PIP and PPL were significantly lower during hypercarbia than normocarbia in both groups although TV was not changed. Based on these results, Cdyn and Cstat were higher during hypercarbia than normocarbia. These results may reflect that increased CO2 relaxes bronchiole and lung parenchyma. CO2-dependent regulation of lung compliance and ventilation-perfusion matching have been explained by pH- and CO2-dependent changes. Previous studies have reported that CO2 relaxes lung parenchyma and increases lung compliance [27,28]. These hypercarbia effects provide positive effects on ventilation/perfusion matching and management of arterial hypoxemia during OLV. However, increased lung compliance during hypercarbia may be influenced by the respiratory rate change. The results require further studies to clarify the mechanism.
The key points of lung protective mechanical ventilation strategies of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are low TV and increased PEEP. The unintended consequences of the protective ventilation are hypercapnia and hypercapnic acidosis owing to a reduction in minute ventilation and a worsening of ventilation/perfusion mismatch. Previously, acidosis has been permitted as an adverse side effect of protective ventilation. However, several studies have shown the ability of CO2 to protect against lung injury and repair independently of low TV [2933]. The concept has been changing from permissive hypercapnia to therapeutic hypercapnia in ARDS. OLV is associated with a high rate of postoperative pulmonary complications, and OLV is currently recognized as a risk factor for acute lung injury [34,35]. Although the pathophysiologic mechanism of acute lung injury after OLV is different for the ventilated and non-ventilated lung, hypercarbia may help prevent and/or repair acute lung injury after OLV.
There are two limitations to the current study. First, the results may be affected by the surgical process. To exclude this effect, patients were divided into two groups in a different order, although the study was designed for crossover comparison. Moreover, the study was discontinued if the pulmonary artery was ligated before the final measurement. Nevertheless, the results could be affected by operation. Therefore, it would be better if the study was performed before the operation. Second, the present results did not provide a mechanism that hypercarbia increased PaO2 during OLV because the pulmonary vascular resistance and pulmonary blood flow were not measured in both lungs, as mentioned above. Further studies are needed to confirm the mechanism of hypercarbia.
In conclusion, hypercarbia increases PaO2 and O2 carrying capacity and improves pulmonary mechanics without significant hemodynamic changes during OLV. Thus, it may help manage oxygenation during OLV. Therefore, permissive hypercarbia may be a simple and valuable modality to manage arterial oxygenation during OLV.

Acknowledgments

The authors thank Dr. H Kang (Chung Ang University, College of Medicine) for helping with statistical analysis.

NOTES

Conflicts of Interest

No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.

Author Contributions

Junho Lee (Methodology; Writing – original draft)

Ye Sull Kim (Data curation)

Juhan Mun (Data curation)

Joseph Lee (Investigation; Software)

Seonghoon Ko (Conceptualization; Project administration; Supervision; Validation; Writing – review & editing)

Previous presentation

Korea Anesthesia 2018, Seoul, Republic of Korea, Nov. 10th 2018, 2018.

Fig. 1.
CONSORT flow diagram. Group I patients were maintained at normocarbia (PaCO2: 38–42 mmHg) after then maintained at hypercarbia (PaCO2: 45–50 mmHg). In Group II patients, PaCO2 were maintained in the reverse order. CPAP: continuous positive airway pressure.
kja-19445f1.jpg
Fig. 2.
Arterial O2 partial pressure was increased by changing the arterial CO2 partial pressure (PaCO2) from normocarbia to hypercarbia in 37 of 40 individual patients (93%). Group I patients were first maintained at normocarbia (PaCO2: 38–42 mmHg), then maintained at hypercarbia (PaCO2: 45–50 mmHg). In Group II patients, PaCO2 were maintained in the reverse order.
kja-19445f2.jpg
Table 1.
Demographic Data and Clinical Characteristics
Group I (n = 20) Group II (n = 20) P value
Age (yr) 66.0 ± 8.0 62.7 ± 7.8 0.195
Sex (F/M) 7/13 7/13 0.740
Height (cm) 161.1 ± 6.6 162.5 ± 8.5 0.578
Weight (kg) 61.4 ± 9.2 66.4 ± 11.9 0.145
ASA PS (1/2) 3/17 3/17 0.658
Operation site (Left/Right) 5/15 7/13 0.730
Preoperative lung function
FVC (L) 3.3 ± 0.6 3.3 ± 0.8 0.911
FEV1 (L) 2.5 ± 0.5 2.5 ± 0.6 0.823
FEV1/FVC (%) 76.2 ± 5.9 75.8 ± 8.1 0.856

Values are presented as mean ± SD or number of patients. Group I patients were first maintained at normocarbia (PaCO2: 38–42 mmHg), then maintained at hypercarbia (PaCO2: 45–50 mmHg). In Group II patients, PaCO2 was maintained in the reverse order. ASA PS: American society of anesthesiologists physical status, FVC: functional vital capacity, FEV1: forced expiratory volume for 1 sec.

Table 2.
Respiratory Variables during One-Lung Ventilation
Normocarbia Hypercarbia P value
Tidal volume (ml) 413.0 ± 50.4
Ventilatory rate (beats/min) 15.3 ± 2.5 9.4 ± 1.8 < 0.001
Peak inspiratory pressure (cmH2O) 24.8 ± 3.7 21.5 ± 2.5 < 0.001
Plateau pressure (cmH2O) 18.9 ± 2.3 17.7 ± 1.9 < 0.001
Dynamic compliance (ml/cmH2O) 21.3 ± 3.2 25.3 ± 3.4 < 0.001
Static compliance (ml/cmH2O) 30.4 ± 5.3 33.0 ± 5.4 < 0.001

Values are presented as mean ± SD.

Table 3.
Bispectral Index, Hemoglobin Concentration, and Hemodynamic Variables during One-Lung Ventilation
Normocarbia Hypercarbia P value
BIS 51.5 ± 8.7 52.4 ± 7.7 0.382
Hemoglobin concentration (g/dl) 11.4 ± 1.1 11.5 ± 1.1 0.179
MAP (mmHg) 79.6 ± 11.5 79.7 ± 11.3 0.899
HR (beats/min) 68.2 ± 12.0 68.7 ± 11.5 0.575
CI (L/min/m2) 2.6 ± 0.7 2.7 ± 0.7 0.170
CVP (mmHg) 8.6 ± 3.6 8.8 ± 3.9 0.183
SVV (%) 7.0 ± 2.9 7.3 ± 2.9 0.252
SVRI (dyne∙sec∙cm5/m2) 2150.5 ± 552.3 2120.2 ± 606.4 0.554
CaO2 (ml/dl) 14.9 ± 1.5 15.4 ± 1.4 < 0.001
DO2 (ml/min) 65.1 ± 18.1 69.9 ± 18.4 < 0.001

Values are presented as mean ± SD. BIS: bispectral index, MAP: mean arterial pressure, HR: heart rate, CI: cardiac index, CVP: central venous pressure, SVV: stroke volume variation, SVRI: systemic vascular resistance index, CaO2: arterial oxygen content, DO2: oxygen delivery.

Table 4.
Oxygen Partial Pressure (PcvO2) and Saturation (ScvO2) of Central Venous Blood and Lactate Concentration
Normocarbia Hypercarbia P value
PcvO2 (mmHg) 38.8 ± 6.3 44.3 ± 4.7 < 0.001
ScvO2 (%) 70.1 ± 7.4 74.9 ± 5.3 < 0.001
Lactate concentration (mmol/L) 1.1 ± 0.4 1.0 ± 0.4 < 0.001

Values are presented as mean ± SD.

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