30/07/2023 - 11:39

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Mechanical Ventilation Modalities


Mechanical ventilation is a critical intervention used in various medical scenarios to support patients with compromised respiratory function. This comprehensive review aims to explore and analyze the different modalities of mechanical ventilation, highlighting their benefits, limitations, and indications. Understanding these modalities is essential for healthcare professionals to provide appropriate ventilatory support and improve patient outcomes.

1-Assist-Control Ventilation (ACV)

ACV is a basic mode of mechanical ventilation where the ventilator delivers a set tidal volume and respiratory rate with each breath, regardless of the patient's effort. This mode ensures consistent minute ventilation but can lead to overventilation or patient-ventilator asynchrony, especially in spontaneously breathing patients.

2-Synchronized Intermittent Mandatory Ventilation (SIMV)

SIMV allows patients to take spontaneous breaths between mandatory breaths delivered by the ventilator. It synchronizes with the patient's efforts, reducing the risk of asynchrony and promoting respiratory muscle activity. However, patients may experience inadequate support during spontaneous breathing, necessitating careful adjustments.
Pressure Support Ventilation (PSV): PSV assists spontaneous breaths by providing a set pressure during the inspiratory phase. It enhances patient comfort, decreases work of breathing, and helps maintain adequate ventilation. PSV is frequently used in weaning patients from mechanical ventilation or for patients with stable respiratory drive.

3-Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP)

CPAP provides a constant positive pressure during the entire respiratory cycle, promoting alveolar recruitment and oxygenation. BiPAP, also known as Pressure Support Ventilation with positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP), delivers different pressures during inspiration and expiration, assisting ventilation and improving oxygenation. Both modalities are often used in managing obstructive sleep apnea, pulmonary edema, and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
Pressure Control Ventilation (PCV): PCV delivers a set inspiratory pressure, allowing for a more controlled ventilation than volume-controlled modes. It is beneficial for patients with reduced lung compliance and is commonly used in ARDS cases. However, it may lead to variable tidal volumes, which can affect ventilation.

4-Volume Control Ventilation (VCV)

VCV delivers a set tidal volume during inspiration, making it suitable for patients with predictable lung compliance. It ensures consistent ventilation but may cause elevated peak airway pressures in patients with poor lung compliance.
Airway Pressure Release Ventilation (APRV): APRV is a time-cycled, pressure-controlled mode with two pressure levels: high (P_high) for prolonged inspiratory time and low (P_low) for shorter expiratory time. APRV promotes recruitment and improves oxygenation while maintaining patient comfort. It is particularly useful in severe ARDS cases.

5-High-Frequency Oscillatory Ventilation (HFOV)

HFOV delivers very rapid breaths at low tidal volumes, avoiding overdistension and promoting lung recruitment. It is commonly used in neonatal and pediatric patients with respiratory failure and severe lung disease.


Mechanical ventilation modalities offer a wide range of options to support patients with varying respiratory needs. Each modality has its advantages and limitations, making it crucial for healthcare professionals to tailor the ventilatory support to individual patients. Understanding the indications and characteristics of these modalities is essential for optimizing patient care, improving outcomes, and minimizing complications associated with mechanical ventilation. As technology advances and new evidence emerges, continuous education and research are vital to refine mechanical ventilation strategies and enhance patient care.

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