Dynamic alveolar mechanics in four models of lung injury



To determine whether pathological alterations in alveolar mechanics (i.e., the dynamic change in alveolar size and shape with ventilation) at a similar level of lung injury vary depending on the cause of injury.

Design and setting

Prospective controlled animal study in a university laboratory.


30 male Sprague-Dawley rats (300–550 g).


Rats were separated into one of four lung injury models or control (n=6): (a) 2% Tween-20 (Tween, n=6), (b) oleic acid (OA, n=6), (c) ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI, PIP 40/ZEEP, n=6), (d) endotoxin (LPS, n=6). Alveolar mechanics were assessed at baseline and after injury (PaO2/FIO2 <300 mmHg) by in vivo microscopy.


Alveolar instability (proportional change in alveolar size during ventilation) was used as a measurement of alveolar mechanics.


Alveoli were unstable in Tween, OA, and VILI as hypoxemia developed (baseline vs. injury: Tween, 7±2% vs. 67±5%; OA: 3±2% vs. 82±9%; VILI, 4±2% vs. 72±5%). Hypoxemia after LPS was not associated with significant alveolar instability (baseline vs. injury: LPS, 3±2 vs. 8±5%).


These data demonstrate that multiple pathological changes occur in dynamic alveolar mechanics. The nature of these changes depends upon the mechanism of lung injury.

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Correspondence to Joseph D. DiRocco.

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DiRocco, J.D., Pavone, L.A., Carney, D.E. et al. Dynamic alveolar mechanics in four models of lung injury. Intensive Care Med 32, 140–148 (2006).

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  • Acute lung injury
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • Alveolar mechanics
  • Hypoxemia
  • Oleic acid
  • Ventilator-induced lung injury