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Anaesthesia. 1993 Jan;48(1):8-13.

Inspiratory muscle effort during nasal intermittent positive pressure ventilation in patients with chronic obstructive airways disease.

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Department of Thoracic Medicine, Royal Brompton National Heart and Lung Hospitals (Chelsea), London, UK.


Effective intermittent positive pressure ventilation can be achieved noninvasively using a nasal mask, but patient comfort may be compromised and respiratory effort increased unless the trigger threshold is low and the response time of the ventilator short. The effect of nasal ventilation upon inspiratory muscle effort and the functional characteristics of the trigger of a purpose-built ventilator were evaluated in five patients with chronic obstructive airways disease. A measure of inspiratory muscle effort, the average pressure time integral per minute, decreased by at least 80% in four patients and by 50% in one. Only two patients had significant numbers of triggered breaths (17% and 47% of total) during 1 h of ventilation with settings as used at home. Therefore trigger function was evaluated when the patients were made to trigger the ventilator by slowing the control rate. A high resting end-expiratory intrathoracic pressure decreased the effective trigger sensitivity so that a mean (SD) change in oesophageal pressure of 14.8 cmH2O was required to lower mask pressure by 2.4 (0.3) cmH2O and activate the trigger. Even under these conditions of lowest trigger sensitivity inspiratory muscle effort was not increased compared to spontaneous ventilation.

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