The performance of Dräger Oxylog ventilators at simulated altitude

Anaesth Intensive Care. 2008 Jul;36(4):549-52. doi: 10.1177/0310057X0803600408.


Ventilated patients frequently require transport by air in a hypobaric environment. Previous studies have demonstrated significant changes in the performance of ventilators with changes in cabin pressure (altitude) but no studies have been published on the function of modem ventilators at altitude. This experiment set out to evaluate ventilatory parameters (tidal volume and respiratory rate) of three commonly used transport ventilators (the Dräger Oxylog 1000, 2000 and 3000) in a simulated hypobaric environment. Ventilators were assessed using either air-mix (60% oxygen) or 100% oxygen and tested against models simulating a normal lung, a low compliance (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) lung and a high-resistance (asthma) lung. Ventilators were tested at a range of simulated altitudes between sea level and 3048 m. Over this range, tidal volume delivered by the Oxylog 1000 increased by 68% and respiratory rate decreased by 28%. Tidal volume delivered by the Oxylog 2000 ventilator increased by 29% over the same range of altitudes but there was no significant change in respiratory rate. Tidal volume and respiratory rate remained constant with the Oxylog 3000 over the same range of altitudes. Changes were consistent with each ventilator regardless of oxygen content or lung model. It is important that clinicians involved in critical care transport in a hypobaric environment are aware that individual ventilators perform differently at altitude and that they are aware of the characteristics of the particular ventilator that they are using.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Ambulances
  • Air Pressure
  • Altitude*
  • Equipment Design
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Lung Compliance / physiology
  • Models, Structural
  • Respiratory Mechanics / physiology*
  • Tidal Volume / physiology*
  • Ventilators, Mechanical*