BACKGROUND: Mechanical ventilation technology has evolved rapidly over the last 30 years. One consequence is the creation of an unmanageable number of names to describe modes of ventilation. The proliferation of names makes education of end users difficult, potentially compromising
the quality of patient care. OBJECTIVE: To determine if stakeholders are familiar enough with published constructs related to modes of mechanical ventilation to form a basis for a consensus, by surveying the medical, education, and business communities. The hypotheses tested were: there is
concordance (> 50%) on 10 basic constructs related to modes; concordance with the basic constructs varies among stakeholders according to professional training and professional activity; and concordance varies among the set of constructs. METHODS: The survey was distributed through an Internet-based
tool to 2,994 physicians, respiratory therapists, nurses, engineers, and others involved with mechanical ventilation. Hypotheses were tested with chi-square, with P < .05 considered significant. RESULTS: The response rate was 15%. Respondents were 55% respiratory therapists, 35%
physicians, 3% nurses, 1% engineers, and 5% other professionals. There was an 82% concordance with the 10 constructs (P < .001). Respiratory therapists showed the highest degree of concordance (84%) and “other profession” showed the lowest (79%) (P = .006). No
significant difference (P = .07) in concordance was observed when data were grouped by professional activity. Concordance differed significantly among the survey questions (P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: Survey results indicate that respondents were either familiar with or amenable
to the previously published literature that the survey constructs represented. The degree of familiarity and concordance with these constructs represents a sufficient basis for attempting to formalize a taxonomy. Further analysis of the pattern of concordance among the constructs will inform
future educational and consensus building efforts.