Extrapolation of a Non-Linear Autoregressive Model of Pulmonary Mechanics

Math Biosci. 2017 Feb;284:32-39. doi: 10.1016/j.mbs.2016.08.001. Epub 2016 Aug 8.


For patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), mechanical ventilation (MV) is an essential therapy in the intensive care unit (ICU). Suboptimal PEEP levels in MV can cause ventilator induced lung injury, which is associated with increased mortality, extended ICU stay, and high cost. The ability to predict the outcome of respiratory mechanics in response to changes in PEEP would thus provide a critical advantage in personalising and improving care. Testing the potentially dangerous high pressures would not be required to assess their impact. A nonlinear autoregressive (NARX) model was used to predict airway pressure in 19 data sets from 10 mechanically ventilated ARDS patients. Patient-specific NARX models were identified from pressure and flow data over one, two, three, or four adjacent PEEP levels in a recruitment manoeuvre. Extrapolation of NARX model elastance functions allowed prediction of patient responses to PEEP changes to higher or lower pressures. NARX model predictions were more successful than those using a well validated first order model (FOM). The most clinically important results were for extrapolation up one PEEP step of 2cmH2O from the highest PEEP in the training data. When the NARX model was trained on one PEEP level, the mean RMS residual for the extrapolation PEEP level was 0.52 (90% CI: 0.47-0.57) cmH2O, compared to 1.50 (90% CI: 1.38-1.62) cmH2O for the FOM. When trained on four PEEP levels, the NARX result was 0.50 (90% CI: 0.42-0.58) cmH2O, and was 1.95 (90% CI: 1.71-2.19) cmH2O for the FOM. The results suggest that a full recruitment manoeuvre may not be required for the NARX model to obtain a useful estimate of the pressure waveform at higher PEEP levels. The methodology could thus allow clinicians to make informed decisions about ventilator PEEP settings while reducing the risk associated with high PEEP, and subsequent high peak airway pressures.

Keywords: Autoregressive modelling; Biomedical systems; Critical care; Pulmonary modelling.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Respiration, Artificial*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Adult*