Purpose of review: To review the changes in mechanical ventilation technology over the past year and identify areas that provide a benefit.
Recent findings: The literature demonstrates a continued effort to improve patient ventilator synchrony though the development of new triggering and cycling methods. These techniques include using new signals and using closed loop techniques to respond to changes in patient breathing pattern. New modes of ventilation continue to be introduced, often without proof of efficacy. Fortunately, clinicians have developed alterations to new modes that improve utility and they continue to study these techniques clinically to determine appropriate use. Monitoring the patient remains an important area of investigation, with a flurry of activity surrounding pressure volume curves of the respiratory system. Finally, new ventilators have been introduced that combine high-end performance with small size and weight, while providing an on-board source of air.
Summary: Mechanical ventilation is ubiquitous to intensive care. Advances in ventilator technology are rapid, and clinicians must keep abreast of changes in ventilator performance and application.