Introduction: Portable ventilators require battery power during transport or when alternating current is unavailable. Manufacturers report battery duration at nominal ventilator settings.
Methods: We studied the effects of control variable (pressure control vs volume control), positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP), and fraction of inspired oxygen (F(IO)(2)) on the battery duration of 8 portable ventilators: Achieva, HT50, iVent201, LTV1000, TBird Advanced Ventilator System (AVS), Avian, Uni-Vent 750, and Uni-Vent 754. Each ventilator was set to ventilate a test lung at a rate of 10 breaths/min, tidal volume of 750 mL, and inspiratory time of 1.5 s, with volume-controlled ventilation and then pressure-controlled ventilation (PCV), if available. F(IO)(2) was set at 0.21 and then 1.0. PEEP was set at 0, 10, and then 20 cm H(2)O. Test lung compliance and resistance were set at 20 mL/cm H(2)O and 5 cm H(2)O/L/s, respectively. Five trials were performed with each portable ventilator, with each combination of settings. Time to low-battery alarm, battery-empty alarm, and failure to ventilate the test lung were recorded. Portable ventilator performance during the trials was determined by continuous recording of tidal volume.
Results: The battery duration of pneumatically driven portable ventilators is longer than that of electrically driven portable ventilators. The battery duration of pneumatically driven portable ventilators is minimally affected by ventilator settings. The battery duration of electrically driven portable ventilators is shortened by use of PCV, increasing PEEP, and increasing F(IO)(2). Compared to zero PEEP, PEEP of 20 cm H(2)O reduced battery duration with HT50 (40%), LTV1000 (37%), TBird AVS (34%), and Achieva (15%). Compared to volume-controlled ventilation, PCV reduced battery duration with the LTV1000 (48%) and TBird AVS (18%). Compared to F(IO)(2) of 1.0, F(IO)(2) of 0.21 reduced battery duration with the Uni-Vent 754 (37%). Compared to F(IO)(2) of 0.21, F(IO)(2) of 1.0 reduced battery duration with the LTV1000 (17%) and TBird AVS (15%). The iVent201 was unable to deliver the set tidal volume with PCV and 20 cm H(2)O PEEP. Low-battery alarms functioned properly on all the ventilators.
Conclusions: Battery duration differs greatly among the portable ventilators tested. Clinicians must be aware that portable ventilator battery duration is affected by control settings, lung impedance characteristics, and portable ventilator characteristics. Battery duration may be shorter than that reported in the operator's manual for each portable ventilator tested.