How to measure respiratory mechanics during controlled mechanical ventilation
Measurement of respiratory mechanics
Bedside measurement of respiratory mechanics allows to closely monitor the lung function in critically ill patients. The two fundamental parameters describing the respiratory system mechanics are resistance and compliance. Resistance of the respiratory system describes the opposition to gas flow during inspiration. During volume-controlled ventilation, resistance can be calculated as the ratio between the peak to plateau pressure drop and the resulting flow rate. Compliance describes the elastic property of the respiratory system, comprising the lung and the chest wall. It is the ratio between a change in volume (i.e. tidal volume) and the corresponding change in pressure, calculated as the difference between plateau pressure and total positive end-expiratory pressure, measured by end-inspiratory and end-expiratory manual occlusion, respectively. In this review, we describe how to measure respiratory mechanics at the bedside, starting from the physiological background of the equation of motion of the respiratory system. (Intensive care)
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