This is likely the most important of the four tutorials on Pressure Support Ventilation. As you may recall, PS is an unusual mode of ventilation because it is flow cycled – that is – the ventilator cycles to expiration as specific, user set, percentage of peak flow. The default expiratory sensitivity is usually around 25%. Expiratory dys-synchrony is frequently missed by bedside clinicians who have not been schooled in waveform analysis. This tutorial covers everything you need to know. @ccmtutorialshttp://www.ccmtutorials.org
Next time I am going to commence a series of tutorials on hypoxia-hypoxemia. This will start with a discussion about how we measure hypoxemia – in particular oxyhemoglobin saturation (Tutorial 12). I will then go on to discuss atelectasis, shunt, ventilation-perfusion mismatch and introduce oxygen therapy (Tutorial 13).
When a pressure limited breath is triggered there is a slight delay between that point and the airway pressure target being reached. This is controlled by a setting on the ventilator known as the “inspiratory ramp” or “inspiratory rise time.”
Although I am covering this topic under the banner of “Pressure Support,” all pressure limited modes include this function, although it may be hidden from sight and each ventilator has a different system for adjustment. Most of the time you will get away with not having to adjust the rise time beyond the factory setting. Nevertheless – having an understanding of the inspiratory ramp is useful for fine tuning breaths in patients who have a tendency to be dys-synchronous. I guarantee you will learn something.
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.