Study objective: Upper abdominal surgery results in a postoperative restrictive pulmonary syndrome. Bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP System; Respironics Inc; Murrysville, Pa), which combines pressure support ventilation and positive end-expiratory pressure via a nasal mask, could allow alveolar recruitment during inspiration and prevent expiratory alveolar collapse, and therefore limit the postoperative pulmonary restrictive syndrome. This study investigated the effect of BiPAP on postoperative pulmonary function in obese patients after gastroplasty.
Design: Prospective controlled randomized study.
Setting: GI surgical ward in a university hospital.
Patients: Thirty-three morbidly obese patients scheduled for gastroplasty were studied.
Intervention: The patients were assigned to one of three techniques of ventilatory support during the first 24 h postoperatively: O2 via a face mask, BiPAP System 8/4, with inspiratory and expiratory positive airway pressure set at 8 and 4 cm H2O, respectively, or BiPAP System 12/4 set at 12 and 4 cm H2O. Pulmonary function (FVC, FEV1, and peak expiratory flow rate [PEFR]) were measured the day before surgery, 24 h after surgery, and on days 2 and 3. Oxygen saturation by pulse oximeter (SpO2) was also recorded during room air breathing.
Results: Three patients were excluded. After surgery, FVC, FEV1 PEFR, and SpO2 significantly decreased in the three groups. On day 1, FVC and FEV1 were significantly improved in the group BiPAP System 12/4, as compared with no BiPAP; SpO2 was also significantly improved. After removal of BiPAP System 12/4, these benefits were maintained, allowing faster recovery of pulmonary function. No significant effects were observed on PEFR. BiPAP System 8/4 had no significant effect on the postoperative pulmonary restrictive syndrome.
Conclusion: Prophylactic use of BiPAP System 12/4 during the first 24 h postoperatively significantly reduces pulmonary dysfunction after gastroplasty in obese patients and accelerates reestablishment of preoperative pulmonary function.