Friday, December 21, 2012

A Review of Plateau Pressure

What is Plateau Pressure? 

Why is it important?

How can I measure plateau pressure?

In pressure control ventilation is the peak pressure and plateau pressure always equal?

Is plateau pressure always accurate? 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Image 1: Ventilator Screen Shot of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. 

In October’s issue of the Chest Journal, a few colleagues of mine authored the abstract “The Use of Invasive Continuous Airway Pressure for Low Tidal Volume Ventilation”.

 This abstract was very intriguing to me for various reasons, one this goes against many traditional methods of providing ventilatory support for the patient with Acute Lung Injury and/ or ARDS.

Zealots of Airway Pressure Release Ventilation would argue that using pure CPAP would lead to extreme work of breathing and not off load the respiratory muscles sufficiently.

I myself would be concerned about using CPAP only, especially in extra-pulmonary ARDS primarily sepsis and septic shock where patients metabolic demand is high, which leads to a vigorous inspiratory demand. Off-loading these patients is very difficult and even using APRV or traditional methods leads to severe hypercapnea.  

However, I was baffled so I questioned my friend Troy Whitacre, a coauthor of the abstract to find more details and to share his experience.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Project: Concepts of Mechanical Ventilation

I have started a new project called "Concepts of Mechanical Ventilation".

This will be a educational page reviewing basic to advance concepts of mechanical ventilation.

I will be adding short educational videos, which links can be accessed under the "Video Library" tab at the top of this Blogs  page.

The above video is an example, more to come.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Versatility of Mid-Frequency Ventilation

MFV first proposed in the medical literature in 2008 as a “conceptual” [1] ventilator modality which maximizes alveolar ventilation and minimizes the delivered tidal volume. MFV provides an alternative to traditional Volume-Control (VC) ventilation for patients with ARDS. This is extremely beneficial because lung protective strategies using VC ventilation are limited by predestined hypercapnia and hypercapnic acidosis.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rebuttal to APC a False Sense of Security

Image 1: Laparoscopic surgery.
In a previous post "Adaptive Pressure Control Ventilation during Anesthesia: a False Sense of Security", I argue that the anesthesia provider should use this mode with caution and described how the mode reacts during changes in pulmonary mechanics. 

After reading the post one could assume that I'm against using this mode of ventilation.

However, I believe this mode has many advantages. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Flu season not for me!: Surveillance screening for scheduling.

I have always believed in the motto "work smarter, not harder". 

As a respiratory therapist one is paid hourly and it does not matter how much work you do in that hour. You will not receive a bonus if you administer 100 more breathing treatments then your coworker. 

So what are the optimal times to be at work versus being on vacation, in regards to working smarter?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Publication Bias: Evidence Based Medicine Dirty Secret

Dr. Ben Goldacre presents the topic of research misconduct in medicine and how unreported negative trials may mislead practitioners to the actual safety of a pharmaceutical agent. 

Goldacre, states that positive results are two times as likely to be published than the negative results and believes that all human trials should be published regardless of outcomes. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Determinants and Limits of the Bellows: The Katz Study

Image 1: Draeger Narkomed 2c Anesthesia Delivery System.

In a previous post "Determinants and Limits or the Draeger Narkomed Anesthesia Machine in Regards to Ventilating the Morbidly Obese Patient", I tried to calculate the largest patient a bellows system could ventilate safely. 

I concluded that if you wanted to deliver a minute ventilation greater than 9 liters per minute, using conventional ventilator settings (tidal volume of 10 ml/kg/IDBW) that the operator would run into issues. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dead Falls, Trip Wires, and Ventilator Settings

As many may not know I grew up in the Midwest and was raised on the principles of self-reliance and the respect for nature. I was taught how to hunt, fish, trap, forge, and grow one’s own vegetables. Our family even attempted to save enough food for a year, preparation for hard times or a catastrophic event (most likely a tornado).

Monday, September 3, 2012

Obtaining P0.1 on Various Ventilators

Airway Occlusion at 0.1 Second (P0.1)

In previous post I provide a brief description of the P0.1 and how one can apply this to adjusting  settings on the ventilator [1,2] and provide greater detail in my book [3].

However, how does one obtain this measurement?

Fortunately, modern mechanical ventilators have this as a software option.

Even though the procedure for obtaining a P0.1 is automated, it is a little different on each device.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Volume-Control to Pressure Control

Image 1: The Settings of VC-CMV. The settings highlighted in yellow are associated with patient-ventilator asynchrony. 

VC-CMV is likely the most utilized mode of mechanical ventilation. This is due to a few a reasons:

     1. VC-CMV is a standard mode on almost every intensive care ventilator (table 1).

     2. VC-CMV is one of the first modes of mechanical ventilation.

     3. VC-CMV is easy to understand in both theory and operation.

     4. VC-CMV is the standard of care when ventilating patients with Acute Respiratory Distress
          Syndrome (ARDS) and Acute Lung Injury (ALI).

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Frustrated with Medical Therapy Options? Design Your Own.

Image 1: Modeled Aorta. 
Tal Goleworthy  frustrated with his options for conventional treatment of a dilated aorta decided to design his own therapy. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Minimal Fresh Gas Flow: "A Reassuringly Safe Anesthetic Technique".

Image 1: Minimal FGF on the FLOW-i anesthesia delivery system

In this months Canadian Journal of Anesthesia authors of the article "Brief Review: Theory and Practice of Minimal Fresh Gas Flow Anesthesia", conclude that with newer anesthesia delivery systems that using minimal fresh gas flow and third generation of inhaled anesthetic agents is a safe technique with many benefits [1]. 

The authors review advantages, potential limitations, and safety considerations when utilizing minimal fresh gas flow technique (mFGF). 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Setting PEEP

There is many ways to set Positive End Expiratory Pressure (PEEP). Setting PEEP too low may result in under or tidal recruitment of the lung and PEEP that is too high results in over-distention, both contribute to Ventilator Induced Lung Injury (VILI).  This post provides a synopsis of the various techniques as well as potential pros & cons.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Vent Graphics Contest WINNERS

First, I would like to thank all my readers who entered the "Vent Graphics Contest" , I appreciate all of the efforts.

First Prize

John Priest

Equipment Used: Epiphan 

Image 1 & 2: Preventing auto-triggering.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

NAVA vs. Pressure Support in Pediatric Patients

Pressure Support Ventilation can be  associated with 8 types of patient ventilator asynchronies. 


The researchers sought to determine if neurally adjusted ventilatory assist (NAVA) enhances asynchrony, ventilatory drive, breath-to-breath variability and COMFORT score when compared to pressure support (PS).  Twelve pediatric patients with asynchrony (auto-triggering, double triggering or non-triggered breaths) were enrolled in a non-randomized short-term cross-over trial.  Four sequential 10-min periods of data were recorded after 20 min of ventilatory stabilization (wash-out) at pre-determined settings.


The median asynchrony index was notably lower during NAVA than during 2-PS(opt) and 4-PS(opt). In NAVA mode, the NAVA trigger accounted for approximately 66% of triggered breaths. The median trigger delay with respect to neural inspiratory time was considerably lower during NAVA than during 2-PS(opt) and 4-PS(opt). The median electrical activity of the diaphragm (EAdi) change during trigger delay normalized to maximum inspiratory. EAdi difference was notably lower during NAVA than during 2-PS(opt) and 4-PS(opt).  Additionally, NAVA produced a significantly higher coefficient of variation of tidal volume than 2-PS(opt) and 4-PS(opt). The median comfort score during NAVA was lower than that during 2-PS(opt) and 4-PS(opt).


This research shows that NAVA results in improved synchrony, reduced ventilatory drive, increased breath-to-breath mechanical variability and improved patient comfort compared to optimized PS.


De le Olivia, P., Schuffelmann, C., Gomez-Zamora, A., & Kacmarek, R. M., (2012). Asynchrony, neural drive, ventilatory variability and COMFORT: NAVA versus pressure support in pediatric patients. A non-randomized cross-over trialIntensive Care Medicine, 38(5), 838-846.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Capture the Flag: Vent Graphics Contest

I have many people ask how I create and capture videos of ventilator waveforms. In this post I will describe  my techniques and introduce a ventilator screen capture contest for my new book Ventilator Graphics: Identifying Patient Ventilator Asynchrony & Optimizing Settings (2nd Ed).

Here are the contest prizes:

  1. iTunes gift card ($50), free copy of the new book ($9.99), your screen shot will be used in the new book.
  2. iTunes gift card ($25) free copy of the new book ($9.99), your screen shot will be used in the new book.
  3. iTunes gift card ($10) free copy of the new book ($9.99), your screen shot will be used in the new book.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Why Aren't Your Patients Weaning? Don't Blame Nursing

The successful weaning and extubation of ventilated patients decreases hospital length of stay and reduces morbidity and mortality. One tool utilized to facilitate this process is “wean predictors” incorporated into RCP driven protocols to determine whether a patient may advance to a spontaneous breathing trial (SBT).

In a previous post [1] I mentioned that the level of sedation was the foremost reason why patients did not progress to a spontaneous breathing trial with a prevalence of 48%. 

This is concerning since it is a standard of care to provide ventilator patients with a daily "sedation vacation" or a interruption or decrease in sedation to assess neurological status and wean readiness.

This poses many questions:

Friday, May 18, 2012

ECLS for Patient Ventilator Synchrony?

Extracorporeal Cardiopulmonary Life Support. Image from MAQUET 


Promoting patient  safety and comfort are two main goals when utilizing mechanical ventilation. In patients with severe lung failure maintaining both lung protective goals and patient comfort is a difficult task. One can provide safety by minimizing the set tidal volume to 4-6 ml/kg/IDBW however this leads to flow asynchronies in the patient who has a high inspiratory drive. One can utilize pressure control ventilation to prevent these flow asynchronies conversely this most likely results in tidal volumes greater than lung protective goals. In these patients it is very difficult to balance these two goals of mechanical ventilation and patient comfort is usually sacrificed, or is  accomplished with high levels of sedation and sometimes neuromuscluar blocking agents. 

Increasing sedation and administering neuromuscular blocking agents increases the risk for ventilator induced diaphragmatic dysfunction (VIDD), increased length of stay, and mortality. So it would be ideal to allow for both lung protection and patient comfort (ventilator synchrony) with minimal sedation use.

In the below summarized abstract [1] researchers couple Extracorporeal Cardiopulmonary Life Support (ECLS) with Neurally Adjusted Ventilatory (NAVA) Assist to balance lung protection and patient comfort with little sedation use. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Importance of Identifying Patient Ventilator Asynchrony

There are many factors that increase the risks for prolonged mechanical ventilation (PMV). So It is imperative that the practitioner is able to identify factors that they can proactively emend.

One factor associated with PMV is inappropriate ventilator settings. The below abstract reinforces how ventilator asynchrony increases the likelihood of  PMV. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Electrolyte Imbalances During Mechanical Ventilation

Numerous factors contribute to ventilator dependence. However, one should focus on identifying factors that are potentially reversible. Electrolyte imbalances have a direct relationship to weaning from mechanical ventilation. 
Below is a summary of different electrolytes and how their imbalances may prolong mechanical ventilation. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Inhaled Nitric Oxide Set-up for Cardiac Surgery

Another use for inhaled nitric oxide is for lowering pulmonary vascular resistance during cardiothoracic surgery. Administration is common during mitral valve replacements, heart transplants, and implantation of left ventricular assist devices.   

One concern is interfacing the INOVent with the anesthesia machine, primarily preventing "Nitric Dioxide" build up.

Here are the steps to interface the INOVent with the anesthesia machine:

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Worst Modes of Mechanical Ventilation

IMV one of the worst ventilator modes in regards to patient comfort. 

Many will argue the best mode of mechanical ventilation and prefer the mode that is most commonly used in their patient populations. Strict believers of the ARDS net protocol will favor VC-CMV to ensure lower tidal volume delivery. Pediatric centers will insist on Pressure targeted modes to limit high pressures, and trauma centers may favor biphasic modes of ventilation to obtain higher mean airway pressures.

However, some institutions use the worst modes of ventilation that directly impede on patient comfort. Promoting patient comfort is one of the main goals of mechanical ventilation [1] and not providing comfort may lead to over sedation, over ventilation, ventilator induced diaphragmatic dysfunction, and increased length of stay.

So what are the worst modes of ventilation specifically in regards to patient comfort?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Inhaled Nitric Oxide Set-up for Nitric Oxide Challenge

One off label use of inhaled nitric oxide is to use it to see if a patients pulmonary hypertension is responsive to vasodilator therapy. 
Due to inhaled nitric oxides quick onset and extremely short half life the "nitric oxide challenge" can be performed safely and efficiently in a cardiac cath lab.  

There are a few standard protocols which I will not go over, however I will go over device and patient interface setup for performing a nitric oxide challenge. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Quantifying Patient Ventilator Asynchrony

SERVO-i Ventilator screen. Using NAVA monitoring & captured screen shots to quantify patient ventilator asynchrony.

Patient ventilator asynchrony is present in the majority of ventilated patients [1].

One of the most difficult components of patient ventilator assessment is actually recognizing asynchrony. Authors of the following study “Efficacy of ventilator waveforms observation in detecting patient–ventilator asynchrony” ‘[2] demonstrate how challenging identifying asynchrony is, even for the seasoned physician.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

CPT Sham

Why do we keep on performing Chest Physical Therapy?

This recent Cochrane Database review reinforces that CPT does not improve outcomes [1]. 


This is a further update of the original Cochrane review published in 2005 and updated in 2007. Acute bronchiolitis is the leading cause of medical emergencies during winter in children younger than two years of age. The main objective of the study was to determine the efficacy of chest physiotherapy in infants aged less than 24 months old with acute bronchiolitis. A secondary objective was to determine the efficacy of different techniques of chest physiotherapy. The researchers searched various past studies including the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) which contains the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group's Specialized Register.  Selection included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in which chest physiotherapy were compared against no intervention or against another type of physiotherapy in bronchiolitis patients younger than 24 months of age. Finally, two review authors independently extracted data. The primary outcomes included respiratory parameters and improvement in severity of disease. The secondary outcomes included length of hospital stay, duration of oxygen supplementation and the use of bronchodilators and steroids. No pooling of data was possible.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Minimal SSI Strategy

Stress Index (Si) Displayed on the SERVO-i Ventilator. 

In 2009 Brunner & Wysocki proposed that there is an optimal breathing pattern to minimize stress & strain during mechanical ventilation [1]. Stress and strain are primary causes of ventilator induced lung injury (VILI), so it would be imperative to provide a breathing pattern which decreases the chances of VILI. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

"It's a Nail"

“Spoils of War” by Andy Ihnatko 2009.

 A colleague of mine described a presentation she attended today in which the speaker was describing the usefulness of the “Dynamic Lung” and how there was no use for those squiggly little lines (referring to ventilators waveforms).

Is this guy serious?