Perfluorochemical liquids are used to facilitate or support respiration and has been under study for many decades. The low surface tension and high gas solubility of liquid PFC enables adequate oxygenation and carbon dioxide removal at low insufflation pressures relative to gas ventilation in the immature or injured lung.

With liquid ventilation the baby remains on a ventilator and the lungs are slowly filled with a predetermined volume of PFC fluid using the endotracheal tube. PFC is oxygenated and carbon dioxide is exchanged in the lungs by means of gas movement provided by the gas ventilator. Periodic repositioning of the infant will assure good distribution of PFC fluid in the lungs as well as an adequate gas to fluid interface that leads to improved gas exchange during liquid ventilation.

PFC fluid is radiopaque and the lungs appear opacified on x-ray. Typical radiographs of PFC filled lungs supported by liquid ventilation appear dense and may have a spectrum of appearances ranging from partially gas filled and partially PFC filled.

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Chest x-ray without and with PFC

Clinical Neonatal Liquid Ventilation

Neonatal Liquid Ventilation