Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 40, Issue 11, pp 1670–1678 | Cite as

The assessment of transpulmonary pressure in mechanically ventilated ARDS patients

  • Davide ChiumelloEmail author
  • Massimo Cressoni
  • Andrea Colombo
  • Giovanni Babini
  • Matteo Brioni
  • Francesco Crimella
  • Stefan Lundin
  • Ola Stenqvist
  • Luciano Gattinoni



The optimal method for estimating transpulmonary pressure (i.e. the fraction of the airway pressure transmitted to the lung) has not yet been established.


In this study on 44 patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), we computed the end-inspiratory transpulmonary pressure as the change in airway and esophageal pressure from end-inspiration to atmospheric pressure (i.e. release derived) and as the product of the end-inspiratory airway pressure and the ratio of lung to respiratory system elastance (i.e. elastance derived). The end-expiratory transpulmonary pressure was estimated as the product of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) minus the direct measurement of esophageal pressure and by the release method.


The mean elastance- and release-derived transpulmonary pressure were 14.4 ± 3.7 and 14.4 ± 3.8 cmH2O at 5 cmH2O of PEEP and 21.8 ± 5.1 and 21.8 ± 4.9 cmH2O at 15 cmH2O of PEEP, respectively (P = 0.32, P = 0.98, respectively), indicating that these parameters were significantly related (r 2 = 0.98, P < 0.001 at 5 cmH2O of PEEP; r 2 = 0.93, P < 0.001 at 15 cmH2O of PEEP). The percentage error was 5.6 and 12.0 %, respectively. The mean directly measured and release-derived transpulmonary pressure were −8.0 ± 3.8 and 3.9 ± 0.9 cmH2O at 5 cmH2O of PEEP and −1.2 ± 3.2 and 10.6 ± 2.2 cmH2O at 15 cmH2O of PEEP, respectively, indicating that these parameters were not related (r 2 = 0.07, P = 0.08 at 5 cmH2O of PEEP; r 2 = 0.10, P = 0.53 at 15 cmH2O of PEEP).


Based on our observations, elastance-derived transpulmonary pressure can be considered to be an adequate surrogate of the release-derived transpulmonary pressure, while the release-derived and directly measured end-expiratory transpulmonary pressure are not related.


Acute respiratory distress syndrome Computed tomography Transpulmonary pressure Esophageal pressure PEEP 


Conflicts of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

134_2014_3415_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.7 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1762 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg and ESICM 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Davide Chiumello
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Massimo Cressoni
    • 2
  • Andrea Colombo
    • 2
  • Giovanni Babini
    • 2
  • Matteo Brioni
    • 2
  • Francesco Crimella
    • 2
  • Stefan Lundin
    • 3
  • Ola Stenqvist
    • 3
  • Luciano Gattinoni
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Anestesia, Rianimazione (Intensiva e Subintensiva) e Terapia del DoloreFondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda–Ospedale Maggiore PoliclinicoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Fisiopatologia Medico-Chirurgica e dei TrapiantiUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly
  3. 3.Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care MedicineSahlgrenska University HospitalGothenburgSweden

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