Patient-ventilator interaction: an overview

Respir Care Clin N Am. 2005 Jun;11(2):201-24. doi: 10.1016/j.rcc.2005.02.007.


During assisted mechanical ventilation, the total pressure applied to respiratory system is the sum of ventilator and muscle pressure. As a result, the respiratory system is under the influence of two pumps, the ventilator pump (ie, Paw), which is controlled by the physician's brain and the capabilities of the ventilator, and the patient's own respiratory muscle pump (Pmus), which is controlled by the patient's brain. The patient-ventilator interaction is mainly an expression of the function of these two brains, which should be in harmony to promote patient-ventilator synchrony. The achievement of this harmony depends exclusively on the physician, who should be aware that during assisted mechanical ventilation the respiratory system is not a passive structure but reacts to pressure delivered by the ventilator via various feedback systems and, depending on several factors both to the ventilator and patient, may modify the function of the ventilator. Finally, the physician should know that the ventilator imposes significant constraints to the respiratory system, the magnitude of which depends heavily on the triggering variable, the variable that controls the gas delivery and the cycling off criterion.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Inspiratory Capacity
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods*
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / physiology*
  • Respiration, Artificial / instrumentation*
  • Tidal Volume
  • Ventilators, Mechanical* / standards