Setting positive end-expiratory pressure: using the pressure-volume curve

Curr Opin Crit Care. 2024 Feb 1;30(1):35-42. doi: 10.1097/MCC.0000000000001127. Epub 2023 Dec 6.


Purpose of review: To discuss the role of pressure-volume curve (PV curve) in exploring elastic properties of the respiratory system and setting mechanical ventilator to reduce ventilator-induced lung injury.

Recent findings: Nowadays, quasi-static PV curves and loops can be easily obtained and analyzed at the bedside without disconnection of the patient from the ventilator. It is shown that this tool can provide useful information to optimize ventilator setting. For example, PV curves can assess for patient's individual potential for lung recruitability and also evaluate the risk for lung injury of the ongoing mechanical ventilation setting.

Summary: In conclusion, PV curve is an easily available bedside tool: its correct interpretation can be extremely valuable to enlighten potential for lung recruitability and select a high or low positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) strategy. Furthermore, recent studies have shown that PV curve can play a significant role in PEEP and driving pressure fine tuning: clinical studies are needed to prove whether this technique will improve outcome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lung
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration* / methods
  • Respiration, Artificial / adverse effects
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods
  • Ventilator-Induced Lung Injury* / prevention & control
  • Ventilators, Mechanical