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A Singh. Letter To The Editor: Autopeep Due To Cardiac Pulsations. The Internet Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. 1996 Volume 2 Number 1.
37 year old Malay lady undergoing operation for uterine fibroid: Total abdominal hysterectomy with salphingo-oopherectomy as an elective procedure. She has history of chronic rheumatic heart disease with atrial fibrillation with moderate tricuspid regurgitation, mitral stenosis and aortic regurgitation. Mitral valvotomy was performed in 1990 for severe MS /MR. Presently not in heart failure. Current medications are :
General anesthesia, premedication: diazepam 5 mg on-call to OR, Boyles machine checked
Uneventful intubation, connected to ventilator :OHMEDA 7900, volume control, circle system
It was noted that the pressure gauge was showing autoPEEP =5 cmH2O with a fluctuating baseline. On ventilator disconnection pressure gauge needle returned to zero. On auscultation air entry was equal bilaterally with no sign of bronchospasm. The patient was adequately paralyzed with vecuronium. Unidirectional valves were rechecked and found to be functioning.
The cause of the autoPEEP was the result of the transmitted cardiac pulsations from the grossly dilated heart.
Unexplained autoPEEP on ventilator especially with a fluctuating baseline should lead one to think of a cardiac origin as a cause.
Dr. Awtarjit Singh