Effect of body position on gas exchange in patients with unilateral central airway lesions. Down with the good lung?

Chest

PubMedID: 8449069

Chang SC, Chang HI, Shiao GM, Perng RP. Effect of body position on gas exchange in patients with unilateral central airway lesions. Down with the good lung?. Chest. 1993;103(3):787-91.
In this study, we evaluated the effect of body position (erect, supine, and two decubitus positions) on gas exchange (alveolar-arterial PO2 difference [AaPO2]) in 35 patients who had various degrees of lung collapse roentgenographically caused by unilateral central airway lesions, with special reference to the difference in AaPO2 between two lateral decubitus positions. The patients were divided into two groups. Group 1 was composed of 23 patients with FEV1/FVC > 70 percent. In group 2, there were 12 patients with FEV1/FVC < 70 percent. Our results showed that the mean AaPO2 of group 1 patients was least in the lateral decubitus position with normal lung down (AaPO2N), followed by those in the supine position (AaPO2S), in the lateral decubitus position with lesioned lung down (AaPO2L), and in the erect position (AaPO2E). There was no significant difference in AaPO2 obtained in four positions. However, a significantly negative correlation was found between AaPO2NL (AaPO2N minus AaPO2L) and patient's FEV1 (p < 0.05). In group 2 patients, the mean AaPO2E was least, followed by AaPO2L, AaPO2N, and AaPO2S. The changes of body position did not significantly affect gas exchange in group 2 patients. Unlike previous reports, the present study showed that AaPO2N was not exclusively less than AaPO2L in our patients. AaPO2N was higher than AaPO2L in 11 of 23 in group 1 and in 5 of 12 in group 2 patients. In summary, our results indicated that positional changes did not significantly affect gas exchange in the patients with lung collapse roentgenographically caused by unilateral central airway lesions and the dogma "Down with the good lung" could not be applied to these patients flawlessly.