COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Tracheal pressure triggering a demand-flow continuous positive airway pressure system decreases patient work of breathing

G Messinger, M J Banner
Critical Care Medicine 1996, 24 (11): 1829-34
8917033

OBJECTIVES: Triggering a ventilator "ON" at the carinal end of the endotracheal tube decreases imposed work of breathing by bypassing the resistance imposed by the breathing circuit and the endotracheal tube. We compared work of breathing during spontaneous ventilation between three methods of triggering the ventilator "ON": a) conventional pressure triggering from inside the ventilator; b) flow-by triggering; or c) tracheal pressure triggering at the carinal end of the endotracheal tube. We hypothesized that the work of breathing would be substantially decreased with tracheal pressure triggering compared with conventional pressure and flow-by methods in patients receiving continuous positive airway pressure.

DESIGN: Clinical, prospective study.

SETTING: University teaching hospital.

PATIENTS: Fourteen adults diagnosed with acute respiratory failure.

INTERVENTIONS: All patients were breathing spontaneously at an FIO2 of 0.30 to 0.40 and received 5 cm H2O of continuous positive airway pressure. Three different methods of triggering the ventilator while set in the continuous positive airway pressure mode were administered in random order.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Real-time measurements of esophageal pressure and tidal volume were integrated with a respiratory monitor (CP-100, Bicore, Riverside, CA) that uses the Campbell diagram to calculate total work of breathing. Imposed work of breathing was calculated by integrating tidal volume with the pressure at the carinal end of the endotracheal tube. Physiologic work of breathing was calculated by subtracting imposed work of breathing from the total work of breathing. Breathing frequency, the index of rapid shallow breathing (breathing frequency/tidal volume), peak inspiratory flow rate demand, exhaled minute ventilation, and the duration of respiratory muscle contraction assessed by the ratio of inspiratory time to total cycle time were also measured. Data were analyzed by Friedman's repeated-measures analysis of variance on ranks. Alpha was set at .05 for statistical significance. Imposed work of breathing decreased to approximately zero during tracheal pressure triggering. As a result, total work of breathing decreased by approximately 40% compared with the flow-by and conventional methods. During tracheal pressure triggering only, airway pressure increased above baseline pressure to approximately 11 cm H2O, which resembled pressure-support ventilation. Also, during tracheal pressure triggering, tidal volume and peak inspiratory flow rate were significantly increased, while the pressure-time product and the index of rapid shallow breathing were significantly decreased. Hemodynamic status and oxygen saturation were not clinically affected.

CONCLUSIONS: The tracheal pressure triggering of a demand-flow continuous positive airway pressure system creates an effect similar to pressure-support ventilation that significantly decreases imposed work of breathing and, thus, total work of breathing. We recommend moving the triggering site of the ventilator to the carinal end of the endotracheal tube.

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