Therapeutic lung lavage in meconium aspiration syndrome: A preliminary report Academic Article uri icon


  • AIM: To explore the effects of a large volume lung lavage procedure in ventilated infants with meconium aspiration syndrome. METHODS: Infants with severe meconium aspiration requiring high-frequency ventilation underwent lung lavage using dilute bovine surfactant at a phospholipid concentration of 5 mg/mL. Lavage aliquot volumes were increased through the case series, aiming to deliver two aliquots of 15 mL/kg in rapid sequence. Physiological effects of lavage were documented, and comparison was made with a group of infants with meconium aspiration requiring high-frequency ventilation, in whom lavage was not performed. RESULTS: Nine episodes of lavage were performed in eight infants at a median age of 23 h (range 8-83 h). Three infants underwent a lavage that was defined as potentially therapeutic (total lavage volume of at least 25 mL/kg administered before 24 h of age). Lavage was not associated with bradycardia or hypotension. Recovery of arterial oxygen saturation to above 80% was achieved within 12 min in all but one infant in whom oxygen saturation was below 80% at the outset. Mean airway pressure was significantly lower in the Therapeutic lavage group compared with non-lavaged infants in the first 48 h, with a trend towards improved oxygenation. CONCLUSION: Dilute surfactant lavage with aliquots of up to 15 mL/kg appears to be feasible in haemodynamically stable ventilated infants with meconium aspiration syndrome, and its efficacy deserves further investigation in a randomised controlled trial.


  • Dargaville, Peter A
  • Mills, John F
  • Copnell, Beverley
  • Loughnan, Peter M
  • McDougall, Peter N
  • Morley, Colin J

publication date

  • July 2007