Mechanical Power of Ventilation: From Computer to Clinical Implications

Respir Care. 2023 Nov 25;68(12):1748-1756. doi: 10.4187/respcare.11462.


Mechanical ventilation is a lifesaving intervention that may also induce further lung injury by exerting excessive mechanical forces on susceptible lung tissue, a phenomenon termed ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI). The concept of mechanical power (MP) aims to unify in one single variable the contribution of the different ventilatory parameters that could induce VILI by measuring the energy transfer to the lung over time. Despite an increasing amount of evidence demonstrating that high MP values can be associated with VILI development in experimental studies, the evidence regarding the association of MP and clinical outcomes remains controversial. In the present review, we describe the different determinants of VILI, the concept and computation of MP, and discuss the experimental and clinical studies related to MP. Currently, due to different limitations, the clinical application of MP is debatable. Further clinical studies are required to enhance our understanding of the relationship between MP and the development of VILI, as well as its potential impact on clinical outcomes.

Keywords: VILI; energy; mechanical power; mechanical ventilation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Computers
  • Humans
  • Lung*
  • Respiration
  • Respiration, Artificial / adverse effects
  • Ventilator-Induced Lung Injury* / etiology
  • Ventilator-Induced Lung Injury* / prevention & control