While being an essential part of general anesthesia for surgery and at times even a life-saving intervention in critically ill patients, mechanical ventilation has a strong potential to cause harm. Certain ventilation strategies could prevent, at least to some extent, the injury caused by this intervention. One essential element of so-called 'lung-protective' ventilation is the use of lower tidal volumes. It is uncertain whether higher levels of positive end-expiratory pressures have lung-protective properties as well. There are indications that too high oxygen fractions of inspired air, or too high blood oxygen targets, are harmful. Circumstantial evidence further suggests that spontaneous modes of ventilation are to be preferred over controlled ventilation to prevent harm to respiratory muscle. Finally, the use of restrictive sedation strategies in critically ill patients indirectly prevents ventilation-induced injury, as daily spontaneous awakening and breathing trials and bolus instead of continuous sedation are associated with shorter duration of ventilation and shorten the exposure to the injurious effects of ventilation.
BACKGROUND: Mechanical ventilation is a common and often life-saving intervention in intensive care medicine. About 35% of all patients in intensive care are mechanically ventilated; about 15% of these patients develop a ventilation-associated pneumonia. The goal of ventilation therapy is to lessen the work of respiration and pulmonary gas exchange and thereby maintain or restore an adequate oxygen supply to the body's tissues.Mechanical ventilation can be carried out in many different modes; the avoidance of ventilation-induced lung damage through protective ventilationstrategies is currently a major focus of clinical interest. METHOD: This review is based on pertinent articles retrieved by a selective literature search. RESULTS: Compared to conventional lung-protecting modes of mechanical ventilation, the modern modes of ventilation presented here are further developments that optimize lung protection while improving pulmonary function and the synchrony of the patient with the ventilator. In high-frequencyventilation, tidal volumes of 1-2 mL/kgBW (body weight) are given, at a respiratory rate of up to 12 Hz. Assisted forms of spontaneous respiration are also in use, such as proportional assist ventilation (PAV), neurally adjusted ventilatory assist (NAVA), and variable pressure-support ventilation. Computer-guided closed-loop ventilation systems enable automated ventilation; according to a recent meta-analysis, they shorten weaning times by 32% . CONCLUSION: The currently available scientific evidence with respect to clinically relevant endpoints is inadequate for all of these newer modes ofventilation. It appears, however, that they can lower both the invasiveness and the duration of mechanical ventilation, and thus improve the care of patients who need ventilation. Randomized trials with clinically relevant endpoints must be carried out before any final judgments can be made.