Autocycling and increase in intrinsic positive end-expiratory pressure during mechanical ventilation

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2001 Nov;45(10):1295-7. doi: 10.1034/j.1399-6576.2001.451021.x.


Modern ventilators are complicated electronic instruments with microprocessors and software, with the possibility of technical errors and problems such as autocycling. Despite autocycling being recognized as a problem in textbooks and reviews, there are few reports about autocycling in the literature. We report a case where a sudden increase in respiratory frequency due to autocycling resulted in a dangerous increase in intrinsic positive end-expiratory pressure (intrinsic PEEP, PEEPi). We think our case illustrates that autocycling does occur, but that the exact underlying mechanism may be hard to document and understand for clinicians. To remedy this situation, we suggest that manufacture-independent technical expertise should be established to evaluate incidents and suggest improvements.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Airway Resistance
  • Equipment Failure
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration, Intrinsic / etiology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy
  • Respiration, Artificial / adverse effects*