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Novel One Lung Ventilation Strategy (OLV) for a Patient with Complete Unilateral Endobronchial Obstruction Causing Hypoxic Respiratory Failure

Amaraja Kanitkar, Sarah J. Lee

(Division of Pulmonary Critical Care, Wayne State University Graduate School of Medicine, Detroit, USA)

Am J Case Rep 2017; 18:96-99

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.901101

BACKGROUND: Mechanical ventilation strategies for one lung ventilation (OLV) differ from conventional modalities in that it can adapt to greater degrees of ventilation/perfusion (V/Q) mismatch. We present a case of cancer causing complete unilateral endobronchial obstruction with refractory hypoxia that improved with OLV strategy.
CASE REPORT: Our patient was an elderly male, admitted to our intensive care unit (ICU) on mechanical ventilation with worsening hypoxic respiratory failure secondary to lung mass and post-obstructive atelectasis. The patient developed refractory hypoxia on high conventional ventilator settings. Chest x-ray (CXR) showed opacification on left lung with ipsilateral mediastinal shift. Bronchoscopy revealed complete obstruction of the left main stem bronchus by a fungating mass. OLV strategy was then implemented. The patient had improved hypoxia despite unchanged CXR.
CONCLUSIONS: We propose that ventilating a patient with a complete unilateral endobronchial obstruction is physiologically similar to ventilating a patient with OLV. In such cases, OLV strategies may improve refractory hypoxia by minimizing V/Q mismatch and should be considered.

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