Technological advancements regularly redefine “conventional mechanical ventilation,” but respiratory professionals welcome new functions and features that can help patients and administrators to breathe easier.

By Renee Diiulio

In 2000, Esteban et al published an international utilization review of mechanical ventilation in the ICU.1 One of their goals was to help define “conventional mechanical ventilation,” a term made somewhat arbitrary by the number of available ventilator modes and setting options being studied at the time.1 They found that across countries—the research involved centers in North America, South America, Spain, and Portugal—the primary indications for mechanical ventilation and ventilator settings were “remarkably similar,” while the selection of modes and the methods of weaning showed considerable variation.1 

Now, slightly more than a decade later, “conventional mechanical ventilation” could once again be redefined. Already an essential tool in almost any ICU, today, ventilation equipment has taken functionality and performance to a new level, one that figures prominently in the protocols of many health care institutions. Features that are available and in demand include high-performance ventilation capabilities, automated knowledge-based weaning, easy portability, and integration with digital systems. 

Physicians can now select modes and adjust settings so that a ventilator is better able to mimic a patient’s natural breathing pattern. With a skilled respiratory practitioner at the bedside, these enhancements can help to minimize a patient’s time on a ventilator and reduce the potential for reintubation. This, in turn, may lead to a reduced hospital stay and improved outcome, a result beneficial for both patients and the healthcare institution. 

This featured report is sponsored by Dräger and published and written by RT.