The pressure flow characteristics of a demand valve which has been suggested to be suitable for use in anaesthetised horses were determined at a range of flow rates commonly encountered in equine anaesthesia. The resistance of the valve was found to be very much greater than the resistance of normal large animal anaesthetic apparatus or the equine lower respiratory tract. The effects of the valve on pulmonary ventilation were investigated in seven anaesthetised, intubated horses. Respiratory rate and dynamic compliance were unaffected by connection of the valve but mean tidal and minute volumes and peak flow rates were substantially reduced. The change in transpulmonary pressure over the respiratory cycle was doubled and indices of work of breathing increased by a factor of three. It was concluded that the resistance offered by the valve was too great for its use in spontaneously breathing horses to be recommended.
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