Management of Intraoperative Mechanical Ventilation to Prevent Postoperative Complications after General Anesthesia: A Narrative Review

J Clin Med. 2021 Jun 16;10(12):2656. doi: 10.3390/jcm10122656.


Mechanical ventilation (MV) is still necessary in many surgical procedures; nonetheless, intraoperative MV is not free from harmful effects. Protective ventilation strategies, which include the combination of low tidal volume and adequate positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP) levels, are usually adopted to minimize the ventilation-induced lung injury and to avoid post-operative pulmonary complications (PPCs). Even so, volutrauma and atelectrauma may co-exist at different levels of tidal volume and PEEP, and therefore, the physiological response to the MV settings should be monitored in each patient. A personalized perioperative approach is gaining relevance in the field of intraoperative MV; in particular, many efforts have been made to individualize PEEP, giving more emphasis on physiological and functional status to the whole body. In this review, we summarized the latest findings about the optimization of PEEP and intraoperative MV in different surgical settings. Starting from a physiological point of view, we described how to approach the individualized MV and monitor the effects of MV on lung function.

Keywords: general anesthesia; intraoperative mechanical ventilation; intraoperative monitoring; positive end expiratory pressure; postoperative care; postoperative pulmonary atelectasis; postoperative pulmonary complications; precision medicine; preoperative care; respiratory failure; risk assessment.

Publication types

  • Review