“What knob is this?” – Intensive care unit ventilation for the non-intensivist

  • Richard Peter Von Rahden KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health
Keywords: mechanical ventilation, lung protection, ventilator weaning, ventilator synchrony


Indications for intensive care unit (ICU) mechanical ventilation differ from those for intraoperative mechanical ventilation. Always, the fundamental goal is the provision of life-sustaining oxygen saturation, with the avoidance of ventilator-induced trauma. Once past the initial stabilisation phase, a high priority must be placed on liberating the patient from mechanical ventilation. Encouraging patient-ventilator synchrony may accelerate this. Modern ICU ventilators have a number of modes and tools which may be useful in facilitating both initial mechanical ventilation optimisation and accelerate subsequent weaning, and these are generically reviewed within a discussion of the general conduct of ICU ventilation.

Author Biography

Richard Peter Von Rahden, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health
BSc(LabMed) MBBCh DA(SA) FCA(SA) CertificateCriticalCare(Anaes)(SA) Head Clinical Unit Pietermaritzburg Department of Anaesthesia, Critical Care & Pain Management Grey’s Hospital KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health
SASA Refresher Course Texts