Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 35, Issue 11, pp 1850–1858 | Cite as

Impact of acute hypercapnia and augmented positive end-expiratory pressure on right ventricle function in severe acute respiratory distress syndrome

  • Armand Mekontso DessapEmail author
  • Cyril Charron
  • Jérôme Devaquet
  • Jérôme Aboab
  • François Jardin
  • Laurent Brochard
  • Antoine Vieillard-Baron



To evaluate the effects of acute hypercapnia induced by positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) variations at constant plateau pressure (P plat) in patients with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) on right ventricular (RV) function.


Prospective observational study in two academic intensive care units enrolling 11 adults with severe ARDS (PaO2/FiO2 <150 mmHg at PEEP >5 cmH2O). We compared three ventilatory strategies, each used for 1 h, with P plat at 22 (20–25) cmH2O: low PEEP (5.4 cmH2O) or high PEEP (11.0 cmH2O) with compensation of the tidal volume reduction by either a high respiratory rate (high PEEP/high rate) or instrumental dead space decrease (high PEEP/low rate). We assessed RV function (transesophageal echocardiography), alveolar dead space (expired CO2), and alveolar recruitment (pressure–volume curves).


Compared to low PEEP, PaO2/FiO2 ratio and alveolar recruitment were increased with high PEEP. Alveolar dead space remained unchanged. Both high-PEEP strategies induced higher PaCO2 levels [71 (60–94) and 75 (53–84), vs. 52 (43–68) mmHg] and lower pH values [7.17 (7.12–7.23) and 7.20 (7.16–7.25) vs. 7.30 (7.24–7.35)], as well as RV dilatation, LV deformation and a significant decrease in cardiac index. The decrease in stroke index tended to be negatively correlated to the increase in alveolar recruitment with high PEEP.


Acidosis and hypercapnia induced by tidal volume reduction and increase in PEEP at constant P plat were associated with impaired RV function and hemodynamics despite positive effects on oxygenation and alveolar recruitment ( #NCT00236262).


Lung injury Acidosis Right heart Alveolar recruitment Alveolar dead space 



We thank Patrick Maison (Unité de Recherche Clinique, Hôpital Henri Mondor, Créteil, France) for valuable statistical advice in interpreting the data. This study was funded by the nonprofit public organization Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris.

Conflict of interest statement

No potential conflict of interest to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Armand Mekontso Dessap
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 5
    Email author
  • Cyril Charron
    • 4
  • Jérôme Devaquet
    • 1
  • Jérôme Aboab
    • 1
  • François Jardin
    • 4
  • Laurent Brochard
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Antoine Vieillard-Baron
    • 4
  1. 1.Medical Intensive Care Unit, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de ParisHenri Mondor–Albert Chenevier Teaching HospitalCréteilFrance
  2. 2.INSERM Unité 955IMRBCréteilFrance
  3. 3.Paris XII UniversityCréteilFrance
  4. 4.Medical Intensive Care Unit, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de ParisAmbroise Paré Teaching HospitalBoulogne-BillancourtFrance
  5. 5.Service de Réanimation MédicaleCHU Henri MondorCréteil CedexFrance

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