Arterial oxygenation in anesthetized horses placed in a 5-degree reverse Trendelenburg position

H. Nicole Trenholme, Michele Barletta, Jane E. Quandt, Rachel A. Reed, Stephanie A. Kleine, Erik H. Hofmeister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Low arterial oxygen is a common complication in anesthetized horses and placing the animal in reverse Trendelenburg (RT) position may treat hypoxemia. The objective of this study was to assess the arterial partial pressure of oxygen (PaO2) in horses placed in a 5-degree RT compared to horizontal (H) position. Client-owned healthy horses (n = 60) undergoing elective surgeries were enrolled in a randomized controlled clinical study. Horses were sedated with butorphanol, an α2-adrenoceptor agonist, ± acepromazine and induced with ketamine combined with a benzodiazepine, propofol, or guaifenesin. Anesthesia was maintained with isoflurane in oxygen with mechanical ventilation. Each group (RT and H) included 30 horses, 10 in each recumbency (dorsal, right and left lateral). Arterial blood gas analyses (aBG) were performed following arterial catheter placement then hourly. Time first-to-last aBG, changes in PaO2, dynamic compliance (Cdyn), estimated pulmonary shunt fraction (F-shunt), and alveolar dead space to tidal volume ratio (VD/VT) were evaluated with a 2-way analysis of variance. Statistical significance was set at p < .05. Overall, PaO2 increased in all groups; however no significant difference was found between recumbencies (dorsal, right and left lateral) and RT versus H in changes over time for PaO2 (p = .064 and p = .070, respectively), Cdyn (p = .721 and p = .672, respectively), F-shunt (p = .055 and p = .054, respectively), or VD/VT (p = .616 and p = .064, respectively). In healthy anesthetized horses, 5-degree RT did not affect changes in PaO2 as compared to H position.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-309
Number of pages6
JournalResearch in Veterinary Science
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Dead space
  • Horse
  • Hypoxemia
  • Oxygen
  • Reverse Trendelenburg
  • Shunt fraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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