Effects of gas leak on triggering function, humidification, and inspiratory oxygen fraction during noninvasive positive airway pressure ventilation

Chest. 2005 Nov;128(5):3691-8. doi: 10.1378/chest.128.5.3691.


Objectives: During noninvasive positive pressure ventilation (NPPV), the gas leak that commonly occurs around the mask can render NPPV ineffective. We evaluated the effects of gas leak on inspiratory trigger function during NPPV with bilevel pressure and ICU ventilators. In addition, we evaluated the effects of gas leak on fraction of inspired oxygen (Fio(2)) and humidification.

Methods: Air leak was created at the airway opening of a model lung by establishing several different-size holes in the circuit. During simulated spontaneous breathing, we evaluated inspiratory trigger performance of two bilevel pressure ventilators (BiPAP Vision and BiPAP S/T-D; Respironics; Murrysville, PA) and two ICU ventilators (Puritan-Bennett 7200ae and Puritan-Bennett 840; Tyco Healthcare; Mansfield, MA). Inspiratory delay time and inspiratory trigger pressure were analyzed. Fio(2) at the airway opening and inside the model lung were evaluated during BiPAP S/T-D ventilation at supplemental oxygen flows of 3, 6, 9, 12 and 15 L/min. Measured oxygen concentration was compared to mathematically predicted levels. Finally, using two heated humidifiers, we evaluated the effect of gas leak on humidification.

Results: The bilevel pressure ventilators triggered properly at all levels of gas leak, and inspiratory triggering was more effective than with the ICU ventilators. Delivered Fio(2) with the BiPAP S/T-D ventilator was affected by gas leak and could be predicted mathematically unless the gas leak was large. With large gas leaks, although relative humidity was maintained, absolute humidity decreased.

Conclusion: Gas leak affected triggering of ICU ventilators, Fio(2) of the BiPAP S/T-D ventilator, and humidity with both types of humidifiers.

MeSH terms

  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Inhalation*
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration* / adverse effects
  • Temperature
  • Transducers