Background: Airway pressure release ventilation (APRV) is an alternative approach to the low-tidal volume "open-lung" ventilation strategy. APRV is associated with a higher mean airway pressure than conventional ventilation and has therefore not been evaluated in patients with acute neurological injuries.
Methods: Case report.
Results: We report a patient with severe progressive hypoxemia following a subarachnoid hemorrhage who was converted from pressure-controlled mechanical ventilation to APRV. This change in ventilatory mode was associated with a significant improvement in oxygenation and alveolar ventilation with an associated increase in cerebral blood flow and a negligible increase in intracranial pressure.
Conclusion: APRV may safely be applied to neurocritically ill patients, and that this mode of ventilation may increase cerebral blood flow without increasing intracranial pressure.