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Exploring the limits of prolonged apnoea with high-flow nasal oxygen: an observational study

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High-flow nasal oxygen is increasingly used for oxygenation during apnoea. Extending apnoea duration using this technique has mainly been investigated during minor laryngeal surgery, but it is unclear how long it can be administered for before it should be discontinued due to acidosis. We aimed to describe the dynamics of arterial blood gases during apnoeic oxygenation with high-flow nasal oxygen with jaw thrust only, to explore the limits of this technique. We included adult orthopaedic patients scheduled for general anaesthesia. After pre-oxygenation, anaesthesia with neuromuscular blockade was induced and high-flow nasal oxygen (70 l.min-1 ) was continued with jaw thrust as the only means of airway management, with monitoring of vital signs and arterial blood gas sampling every 5 minutes. Apnoeic oxygenation with high-flow nasal oxygen was discontinued when arterial carbon dioxide tension (PaCO2 ) exceeded 12 kPa or pH fell to 7.15. This technique was used in 35 patients and median (IQR [range]) apnoea time was 25 (20-30 [20-45]) min and was discontinued in all patients when pH fell to 7.15. The mean (SD) PaCO2 increase was 0.25 (0.06) kPa.min-1 but it varied substantially (range 0.13-0.35 kPa.min-1 ). Mean (SD) arterial oxygen tension was 48.6 (11.8) kPa when high-flow nasal oxygen was stopped. Patients with apnoea time > 25 minutes were significantly older (p = 0.025). We conclude that apnoeic oxygenation with high-flow nasal oxygen resulted in a significant respiratory acidosis that varies substantially on the individual level, but oxygenation was maintained.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnaesthesia
Volume76
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)798-804
Number of pages7
ISSN0003-2409
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

    Research areas

  • apnoeic oxygenation, carbon dioxide, high-flow nasal oxygen, jaw thrust, respiratory acidosis, flow nasal oxygen, high&#8208

ID: 61227287