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Online ISSN 1827-1596
Laghi F., Goyal A.
Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Administration Hospital, Loyola University of Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Hines, IL, USA
Intrinsic positive end-expiratory pressure (auto-PEEP) is a common occurrence in patients with acute respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation. Auto-PEEP can cause severe respiratory and hemodynamic compromise. The presence of auto-PEEP should be suspected when airflow at end-exhalation is not zero. In patients receiving controlled mechanical ventilation, auto-PEEP can be estimated measuring the rise in airway pressure during an end-expiratory occlusion maneuver. In patients who trigger the ventilator or who are not connected to a ventilator, auto-PEEP can be estimated by simultaneous recordings of airflow and airway and esophageal pressure, respectively. The best technique to accurately measure auto-PEEP in patients who actively recruit their expiratory muscle remains controversial. Strategies that may reduce auto-PEEP include reduction of minute ventilation, use of small tidal volumes and prolongation of the time available for exhalation. In patients in whom auto-PEEP is caused by expiratory flow limitation, the application of low-levels of external PEEP can reduce dyspnea, reduce work of breathing, improve patient-ventilator interaction and cardiac function, all without worsening hyperinflation. Neurally adjusted ventilatory assist, a novel strategy of ventilatory assist, may improve patient-ventilator interaction in patients with auto-PEEP.