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Respir Care. 2011 Jan;56(1):85-102. doi: 10.4187/respcare.00967.

Closed-loop control of mechanical ventilation: description and classification of targeting schemes.

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Respiratory Institute, The Cleveland Clinic, and with Lerner College of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.


There has been a dramatic increase in the number and complexity of new ventilation modes over the last 30 years. The impetus for this has been the desire to improve the safety, efficiency, and synchrony of ventilator-patient interaction. Unfortunately, the proliferation of names for ventilation modes has made understanding mode capabilities problematic. New modes are generally based on increasingly sophisticated closed-loop control systems or targeting schemes. We describe the 6 basic targeting schemes used in commercially available ventilators today: set-point, dual, servo, adaptive, optimal, and intelligent. These control systems are designed to serve the 3 primary goals of mechanical ventilation: safety, comfort, and liberation. The basic operations of these schemes may be understood by clinicians without any engineering background, and they provide the basis for understanding the wide variety of ventilation modes and their relative advantages for improving patient-ventilator synchrony. Conversely, their descriptions may provide engineers with a means to better communicate to end users.

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