How Often Does Patient-Ventilator Asynchrony Occur and What Are the Consequences?
Mechanical ventilation can be life-saving for patients with acute respiratory failure. In between the 2 extremes of complete and no ventilatory support, both patient and machine contribute to ventilatory work. Ideally, ventilator gas delivery would perfectly match patient demand. This patient-ventilator interaction depends on how the ventilator responds to patient respiratory effort and, in turn, how the patient responds to the breath delivered by the ventilator. It is now evident that the interaction between patient and ventilator is frequently suboptimal and that patient-ventilator asynchrony is common. Its prevalence depends on numerous factors, including timing and duration of observation, technique used for detection, patient population, type of asynchrony, ventilation mode and settings (eg, trigger, flow, and cycle criteria), and confounding factors (eg, state of wakefulness, sedation). Patient-ventilator asynchrony is associated with adverse effects, including higher/wasted work of breathing, patient discomfort, increased need for sedation, confusion during the weaning process, prolonged mechanical ventilation, longer stay, and possibly higher mortality. Whether asynchrony is a marker of poor prognosis or causes these adverse outcomes remains to be determined.
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