Pressure Support Ventilation – Part 1

If you go into most ICUs today, the most commonly used mode of ventilation is Pressure Support. There are many reasons for this: it is widely believed that supporting spontaneous breathing results in less muscular – and in particular diaphragmatic – atrophy; patients require minimum sedation and can be gradually weaned and, because it is a pressure targeted mode, there is biologically variable ventilation. Although not every ICU uses Pressure Support as part of its invasive ventilation strategy, virtually all units use it for non invasive ventilation. If you work in ICU you MUST understand Pressure Support. In my view it is the MOST important mode of ventilation. It is also the easiest mode to get started with and one of the most difficult to master.

These are four tutorials on Pressure Support Ventilation – starting with Triggering, then Breath Initiation, then Setting the Level and, finally, Expiration. The first tutorial introduces the concept of Assisted Spontaneous Breathing and Pressure Support and revisits Triggering – Flow and Pressure Triggering. Although I covered this in the introductory tutorials, I go into much greater detail here. In particular I cover Undertriggering and Overtriggering. I guarantee you will learn something.

Everything You Need to Know About End Tidal CO2

I decided to do a tutorial on end tidal CO2 as there has been a lot of discussion about it’s merits and limitations in our practice. It is fairly long and can be broken into sections at 20 minutes and 37 minutes if you have a short attention span (I will split it up into smaller segments at some stage in the future).

The content is absolutely essential for doctors and nurses working in anesthesiology and intensive care. In my opinion measuring expiratory CO2 from the ventilator circuit is the most useful clinical measurement tool that we have. It gives us information about cellular metabolic activity, blood flow, venous return, lung unit perfusion, gas exchange and alveolar ventilation. The tutorial commences with a discussion of CO2 as a gas and discusses Henry’s and Daltons’ laws. I then discuss the various different CO2 moieties, particularly bicarbonate. Subsequently I go on to discuss the impact of alveolar ventilation on PaCO2. After 20 minutes I move on to discuss capnometry – the measurement of the presence and quantity of CO2 emerging from the lung at end expiration. I discuss why the etCO2 may rise of fall. I then look at a specific clinical scenario where the etCO2 falls precipitously. After 37 minutes I discuss capnography – initially the normal capnograph and then a series of different capnography traces that you should be able to recognize. As a final thought I mention that CO2 is not the only waste produce or metabolic intermediary that we measure, routinely, in clinical practice.

Tutorial 7: Understanding Ventilatory Failure, Alveolar Gas, Lung Volumes and Dead Space.

Clinicians who work in anesthesiology, intensive care or emergency medicine who are involved in the management of respiratory failure must understand the problem of failure to ventilate: “can’t breathe, won’t breathe.” This long tutorial covers a lot of ground and could be viewed in split sessions.

My principle goal is to give you the tools to work the problem of respiratory failure. Along the way I introduce the alveolar gas equation, ventilation perfusion matching and lung volumes; particularly functional residual capacity. In the second half (from 28:20 onwards), I discuss anatomical and physiological dead space, calculate out the dead space to tidal volume ratio and show how you can be inadvertently increasing physiologic dead space by applying PEEP or neglecting auto-PEEP.

Even if you think you know a lot about this subject, I guarantee that you will learn something.

As always, I welcome feedback.

Don’t Be Scared of Respiratory Physiology – it makes sense (well, most of it anyway!)

Tutorial 6: Synchronized Intermittent Mandatory Ventilation

This is the second tutorial on Volume Controlled Ventilation. I discuss the evolution of ventilators from pure controlled mechanical ventilation, to intermittent mandatory ventilation – with spontaneous breathing to synchronized IMV with Pressure Support. This mode remains robustly popular around the world and critical care practitioners and anesthesiologists should be familiar with the mode, along with its advantages and disadvantages. I guarantee you will learn something. @ccmtutorials

Tutorial 5 Now Available: Volume Control Ventilation – featuring Volume Assist Control

I am now moving on to the “meat” of the mechanical ventilation course, starting with volume controlled ventilation. The first of these tutorials is on volume assist control. Even if you think you know a lot about this mode – stick with me, there is a lot of information packed in and I guarantee that you will learn something. Comments always welcome.