Evaluation of lung function changes before and after surfactant application during artificial ventilation in newborn rats with congenital diaphragmatic hernia
Patients with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) have unilateral or bilateral hypoplasia of the lungs including delayed maturation of the terminal air sacs. Because these lungs are highly susceptible to barotrauma and oxygen toxicity, even in full-term newborns, continued research into optimal ventilatory regimen is essential to improve survival rate and to prevent ongoing lung damage. Against this background, the effect of exogenous surfactant application is evaluated. In newborn rats, CDH was induced after a single dose of 2,4 dichloro-4'-nitrophenyl (Nitrofen) (400 mg/kg) on day 10 of gestation. The newborn rats were intubated immediately after hysterotomy, transferred to a heated multichambered body plethysmograph, and artificially ventilated. Inspiratory peak pressures were initially set at 17 cm H2O, with positive end-expiratory pressure at 0 cm H2O and FIO2at 1.0. The pressure was raised in steps of 5 cm H2O, from 5 to 30 cm H2O, to obtain pressure- volume diagrams at 0, 1, and 6 hours of artificial ventilation. These measurements were obtained in controls and in CDH rats with and without endotracheal installation of bovine surfactant (n = 4 to 10 in each group). Significant differences in lung volume between CDH and control rats were observed at all time-points. Surfactant application had a positive effect on lung volume, especially in control rats at t = 1 hour. No significant differences were observed between the CDH groups at t = 1 or t = 6 hours. In this animal model, the effect of artificial ventilation as well as the beneficial short-term effect of exogenous surfactant application have been evaluated. A continued positive effect on lung volume in CDH lungs could not be determined. Routine administration of exogenous surfactant in human CDH patients is not supported by these experimental results.