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Effect of breathing pattern on the pressure-time product calculation

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Background: 

The pressure-time product (PTP) is often used to compare conditions with different breathing patterns. Being the pressure-time product calculated with pressures changes over a minute, mechanical load and inspiration time per minute should be its main determinants. The aim of this study was to investigate if the method of PTP computation is affected by the breathing pattern when mechanical load and inspiratory time per minute are constant. Methods: 

Respiratory mechanics and the PTP developed by the ventilator were calculated in 10 mechanically ventilated patients at three different respiratory rate/tidal volume combinations, provided that minute ventilation and inspiratory time per minute were constant. Results: 

The static elastance did not change at different tidal volumes. Despite the constant elastic load over a minute, the elastic PTP showed an increment greater than 200% from the higher to the lower respiratory rate, responsible for approximately 80% of the whole PTP increment. On the contrary a ‘corrected’ elastic PTP (calculated using the square root of the elastic pressure-time area), the elastic double product of the respiratory system and the mean elastic pressure per minute, did not significantly change. Conclusions: 

Changes in breathing pattern markedly affected the PTP independently by the mechanical load and the inspiratory time per minute. In these conditions it could not correctly estimate the metabolic cost of breathing. The use of a ‘corrected’ PTP, the mean inspiratory pressure per minute or the double product of the respiratory system, could overcome this limitation.
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Keywords: Respiration; artificial; respiratory mechanics; respiratory physiology

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Anesthesia, Intensive Care and Emergency, Poliambulanza Hospital and 2: Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy

Publication date: 2004-05-01

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