Objective: The incidence, pathophysiology, and consequences of patient-ventilator asynchrony are poorly known. We assessed the incidence of patient-ventilator asynchrony during assisted mechanical ventilation and we identified associated factors.
Methods: Sixty-two consecutive patients requiring mechanical ventilation for more than 24 h were included prospectively as soon as they triggered all ventilator breaths: assist-control ventilation (ACV) in 11 and pressure-support ventilation (PSV) in 51.
Measurements: Gross asynchrony detected visually on 30-min recordings of flow and airway pressure was quantified using an asynchrony index.
Results: Fifteen patients (24%) had an asynchrony index greater than 10% of respiratory efforts. Ineffective triggering and double-triggering were the two main asynchrony patterns. Asynchrony existed during both ACV and PSV, with a median number of episodes per patient of 72 (range 13-215) vs. 16 (4-47) in 30 min, respectively (p=0.04). Double-triggering was more common during ACV than during PSV, but no difference was found for ineffective triggering. Ineffective triggering was associated with a less sensitive inspiratory trigger, higher level of pressure support (15 cmH(2)O, IQR 12-16, vs. 17.5, IQR 16-20), higher tidal volume, and higher pH. A high incidence of asynchrony was also associated with a longer duration of mechanical ventilation (7.5 days, IQR 3-20, vs. 25.5, IQR 9.5-42.5).
Conclusions: One-fourth of patients exhibit a high incidence of asynchrony during assisted ventilation. Such a high incidence is associated with a prolonged duration of mechanical ventilation. Patients with frequent ineffective triggering may receive excessive levels of ventilatory support.