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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 213-220

Numerical analysis of mechanical ventilation using high concentration medical gas mixtures in newborns

Medical Research & Development, Healthcare World Business Line, Air Liquide Santé International, Paris Innovation Campus, Les Loges-en-Josas, France

Correspondence Address:
Ira Katz
Medical Research & Development, Healthcare World Business Line, Air Liquide Santé International, Paris Innovation Campus, Les Loges-en-Josas
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2045-9912.273959

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When administered in relatively high concentrations the mechanical properties of inhaled gas can become significantly different from air. This fact has implications in mechanical ventilation where adequate respiration and injury to the lungs or respiratory muscles can worsen morbidity and mortality. Here we use an engineering pressure loss model to analyze the administration of medical gas mixtures in newborns. The model is used to determine the pressure distribution along the gas flow path. Numerical experiments comparing medical gas mixtures with helium, nitrous oxide, argon, xenon, and medical air as a control, with and without an endotracheal tube obstruction were performed. The engineering pressure loss model was incorporated into a model of mechanical ventilation during pressure control mode, a ventilator mode that is often used for neonates. Results are presented in the form of Rohrer equations relating pressure loss to flow rate for each gas mixture with and without obstruction. These equations were incorporated into a model for mechanical ventilation resulting in pressure, flow rate, and volume curves for the inhalation-exhalation cycle. In terms of accuracy, published values of airway resistance range from 50 to 150 cmH2O/L per second for a normal 3 kg infant. With air, the current results are 55 to 80 cmH2O/L per second for 0.3 to 5 L/min. It is shown that density through inertial pressure losses has a greater influence on airway resistance than viscosity in spite of relatively low flow rates and small airway dimensions of newborns. The results indicate that the high-density xenon mixture can be problematic during mechanical ventilation. On the other hand, low density heliox (a mixture of helium and oxygen) provides a wider margin of safety for mechanical ventilation than the other gas mixtures. The argon or nitrous oxide mixtures considered are only slightly different from air in terms of mechanical ventilation performance.

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