Objective: We designed a new ventilatory mode to support spontaneously breathing, intubated patients and to improve weaning from mechanical ventilation. This mode, named Automatic Tube Compensation (ATC), compensates for the flow-dependent pressure drop across the endotracheal tube (ETT) and controls tracheal pressure to a constant value. In this study, we compared ATC with conventional patient-triggered inspiratory pressure support (IPS).
Design: A prospective, interventional study.
Setting: A medical intensive care unit (ICU) and an ICU for heart and thoracic surgery in a university hospital.
Patients: We investigated two groups of intubated, spontaneously breathing patients: ten postoperative patients without lung injury, who had a normal minute ventilation (VE) of 7.6 +/- 1.7 l/min, and six critically ill patients who showed increased ventilatory demand (VE = 16.8 +/- 3.0 l/ min).
Interventions: We measured the breathing pattern [VE, tidal volume (VT), and respiratory rate (RR)] and additional work of breathing (WOBadd) due to ETT resistance and demand valve resistance. Measurements were performed under IPS of 5, 10, and 15 mbar and under ATC.
Results: The response of VT, RR, and WOBadd to different ventilatory modes was different in both patient groups, whereas VE remained unchanged. In postoperative patients, ATC, IPS of 10 mbar, and IPS of 15 mbar were sufficient to compensate for WOBadd. In contrast, WOBadd under IPS was greatly increased in patients with increased ventilatory demand, and only ATC was able to compensate for WOBadd.
Conclusions: The breathing pattern response to IPS and ATC is different in patients with differing ventilatory demand. ATC, in contrast to IPS, is a suitable mode to compensate for WOBadd in patients with increased ventilatory demand. When WOBadd was avoided using ATC, the patients did not need additional pressure support.