Year : 2014  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 396-404

Essentials of ventilator graphics

1 Professor, Department of Respiratory Care, The University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA
2 Administrative Director, Respiratory Therapy Department/Pulmonary Physiology Center, New York Methodist Hospital, Brooklyn, New York, USA

Correspondence Address:
Ruben D Restrepo
Professor, Department of Respiratory Care, The University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Respiratory function monitoring involves the integration of information such as airway pressures, flow and volume to evaluate changes in pulmonary mechanics. Ventilator graphics are an essential and valuable tool in the care of mechanically ventilated patients. Clinicians responsible for both setting up the ventilators and managing the patients should have a thorough understanding of the different waveforms to be able to recognise mechanical and/or clinical abnormalities. The scalar graphics allow the assessment of each variable (pressure, flow and volume) over time. Despite the ability to customise graphics on modern ventilators, scalars are typically displayed together in the same screen. There are an innumerable number of changes that can be detected in the scalars that may facilitate the management of the mechanical ventilator, and thus optimise the care of the ventilated patient. The loops provide a two-dimensional view of two variables plotted against each other. Understanding how the patient and the ventilator interact must be considered a critical component of the overall assessment of patients undergoing any type of mechanical ventilation since detection and management of asynchrony impacts important clinical outcomes in the ICU.

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