Functional Lung Imaging during HFV in Preterm Rabbits

Although high frequency ventilation (HFV) is an effective mode of ventilation, there is limited information available in regard to lung dynamics during HFV. To improve the knowledge of lung function during HFV we have developed a novel lung imaging and analysis technique. The technique can determine complex lung motion information in vivo with a temporal resolution capable of observing HFV dynamics. Using high-speed synchrotron based phase contrast X-ray imaging and cross-correlation analysis, this method is capable of recording data in more than 60 independent regions across a preterm rabbit lung in excess of 300 frames per second (fps). This technique is utilised to determine regional intra-breath lung mechanics of preterm rabbit pups during HFV. Whilst ventilated at fixed pressures, each animal was ventilated at frequencies of 1, 3, 5 and 10 Hz. A 50% decrease in delivered tidal volume was measured at 10 Hz compared to 1 Hz, yet at the higher frequency a 500% increase in minute activity was measured. Additionally, HFV induced greater homogeneity of lung expansion activity suggesting this ventilation strategy potentially minimizes tissue damage and improves gas mixing. The development of this technique permits greater insight and further research into lung mechanics and may have implications for the improvement of ventilation strategies used to support severe pulmonary trauma and disease.