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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, MI, 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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