Partitioning of airway and parenchymal mechanics in unsedated newborn infants

Jane Pillow, J. Stocks, Peter Sly, Zoltan Hantos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The recent trend toward development of noninvasive methods that can accurately evaluate the lung periphery has particular relevance for the predominantly parenchymal nature of neonatal respiratory disease. Concerns regarding the safety of sedating newborn (especially preterm) infants have also stimulated a drive toward measurements obtained during natural sleep. This study aimed to adapt existing methodology for the low-frequency forced oscillation technique to obtain partitioned measurements of airway and parenchymal mechanics during unsedated, quiet sleep in newborn infants without a history of previous respiratory disease. A face mask was positioned over the infant's mouth and nose and a brief (4-5 s) breathing pause was induced by evoking the Hering-Breuer reflex via end-inspiratory occlusion at raised lung volume (airway opening occluded at 2 kPa). Airway opening pressure and flow were measured while a pseudorandom noise (2-14 Hz) was applied to the airway. Acceptable pulmonary impedance data were collected in 11 of the 12 infants studied (34.1-42.6 wk postmenstrual age, 1.9-3.9 kg body weight) on 17 (total of 20) occasions. Airway parameters (resistance and inertance) and respiratory tissue parameters were calculated from the resultant impedance spectra. Tissue resistance and tissue elastance decreased with increasing body length albeit at different rates such that hysteresivity (tissue resistance/ tissue elastance) also decreased. There was a trend toward reduction in airway resistance with increasing length. Measurements of lung function are feasible in the unsedated newborn infant using low-frequency forced oscillations and confirm the important contribution of tissue resistance to lung mechanics in the developing lung.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1210-1215
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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