Effect of 15° Reverse Trendelenburg Position on Arterial Oxygen Tension during Isoflurane Anesthesia in Horses

Laura Tucker, Daniel Almeida, Erin Wendt-Hornickle, Caroline F. Baldo, Sandra Allweiler, Alonso G.P. Guedes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Lower than expected arterial oxygen tension (PaO2) continues to be an unresolved problem in equine anesthesia. The aim of this randomized, crossover, and prospective study using six adult horses is to determine if a 15° reverse Trendelenburg position (RTP) increases PaO2 during inhalation anesthesia. Under constant-dose isoflurane anesthesia, dorsally recumbent horses were positioned either horizontally (HP) or in a 15° RTP for 2 h. Lungs were mechanically ventilated (15 mL/kg, 6 breaths/min). Arterial carbon dioxide tension (PaCO2), PaO2, inspired oxygen fraction (FiO2), and end-tidal carbon dioxide tension (EtCO2) were determined every 30 min during anesthesia. Indices of dead-space ventilation (Vd/Vt), oxygenation (P–F ratio), and perfusion (F–shunt) were calculated. Dobutamine and phenylephrine were used to support mean arterial pressure (MAP). Data are presented as median and range. In one horse, which was deemed an outlier due to its thoracic dimensions and body conformation, indices of oxygenation worsened in RTP compared to HP (median PaO2 438 vs. 568 mmHg; P–F ratio 454 vs. 586 mmHg, and F–shunt 13.0 vs. 5.7 mmHg). This horse was excluded from calculations. In the remaining five horses they were significantly better with RTP compared to HP. Results in remaining five horses showed that PaO2 (502, 467–575 vs. 437, 395–445 mmHg), P-F ratio (518, 484–598 vs. 455, 407–458 mmHg), and F-shunt (10.1, 4.2–11.7 vs. 14.2, 13.8–16.0 mmHg) were significantly different between RTP and HP (p = 0.03). Other variables were not significantly different. In conclusion, the 15° RTP resulted in better oxygenation than HP in dorsally recumbent, isoflurane-anesthetized horses, although worsening of oxygenation may occur in individual horses. A study detailing the cardiovascular consequences of RTP is necessary before it can be recommended for clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number353
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Complication
  • Dorsal recumbency
  • General anesthesia
  • Hypoxemia
  • Intrapulmonary shunt
  • Junctional escapecapture bigeminy
  • Ventilation

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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