BACKGROUND: We previously evaluated the efficacy of a ventilatory strategy to achieve expiratory flow bias and positive end-expiratory pressure (EFB + PEEP) or the Trendelenburg position (TP) for the prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). These preventive measures were aimed at improving mucus clearance and reducing pulmonary aspiration of bacteria-laden oropharyngeal secretions. This secondary analysis is aimed at evaluating the effects of aforementioned interventions on systemic inflammation and to substantiate the value of clinical parameters and cytokines in the diagnosis of VAP.
METHODS: Twenty female pigs were randomized to be positioned in the semirecumbent/prone position, and ventilated with duty cycle 0.33 and without PEEP (control); positioned as in the control group, PEEP 5 cmH2O, and duty cycle to achieve expiratory flow bias (EFB+PEEP); ventilated as in the control group, but in the Trendelenburg position (Trendelenburg). Following randomization, P. aeruginosa was instilled into the oropharynx. Systemic cytokines and tracheal secretions P. aeruginosa concentration were quantified every 24h. Lung biopsies were collected for microbiological confirmation of VAP.
RESULTS: In the control, EFB + PEEP, and Trendelenburg groups, lung tissue Pseudomonas aeruginosa concentration was 2.4 ± 1.5, 1.9 ± 2.1, and 0.3 ± 0.6 log cfu/mL, respectively (p = 0.020). Whereas, it was 2.4 ± 1.9 and 0.6 ± 0.9 log cfu/mL in animals with or without VAP (p < 0.001). Lower levels of interleukin (IL)-1β (p = 0.021), IL-1RA (p < 0.001), IL-4 (p = 0.005), IL-8 (p = 0.008), and IL-18 (p = 0.050) were found in Trendelenburg animals. VAP increased IL-10 (p = 0.035), tumor necrosis factor-α (p = 0.041), and endotracheal aspirate (ETA) P. aeruginosa concentration (p = 0.024). A model comprising ETA bacterial burden, IL-10, and TNF-α yielded moderate discrimination for the diagnosis of VAP (area of the receiver operating curve 0.82, 95% CI 0.61-1.00).
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate anti-inflammatory effects associated with the Trendelenburg position. In this reliable model of VAP, ETA culture showed good diagnostic accuracy, whereas systemic IL-10 and TNF-α marginally improved accuracy. Further clinical studies will be necessary to confirm clinical value of the Trendelenburg position as a measure to hinder inflammation during mechanical ventilation and significance of systemic IL-10 and TNF-α in the diagnosis of VAP.