Lung-protective ventilation in neonatology

Neonatology. 2011;99(4):338-41. doi: 10.1159/000326843. Epub 2011 Jun 23.


Ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI) is considered an important risk factor in the development of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and is primarily caused by overdistension (volutrauma) and repetitive opening and collapse (atelectrauma) of terminal lung units. Lung-protective ventilation should therefore aim to reduce tidal volumes, and recruit and stabilize atelectatic lung units (open lung ventilation strategy). This review will summarize the available evidence on lung-protective ventilation in neonatology, discussing both high-frequency ventilation (HFV) and positive pressure ventilation (PPV). It shows that HFV does not appear to have a clear benefit over PPV, although most studies failed to apply a true open lung ventilation strategy during HFV. The evidence on the optimal tidal volume, positive end-expiratory pressure and the role for lung recruitment during lung-protective PPV is extremely limited. Volume-targeted ventilation seems to be a promising mode in terms of lung protection, but more studies are needed. Due to the lack of convincing evidence, lung-protective ventilation and modes seem to be implemented in daily clinical practice at a slow pace.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • High-Frequency Ventilation / instrumentation
  • High-Frequency Ventilation / methods
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neonatology / methods*
  • Neonatology / trends
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration / instrumentation
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration / methods
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / physiology*
  • Respiration, Artificial / instrumentation
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods*
  • Ventilator-Induced Lung Injury / etiology
  • Ventilator-Induced Lung Injury / prevention & control*