Functional Aspects of Noninvasive Ventilation
For more than 30 years acute respiratory failure (ARF) has been one of the most frequent causes of admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) . The treatment of ARF is described as conservative if the patient is managed without intubation or tracheostomy and mechanical ventilation (MV). Many cases of ARF can be treated in a conservative way. MV via endotracheal (ET) tube or tracheostomy has been indicated if conservative treatment fails. Classic indications for MV are: deterioration of consciousness, cardiac or respiratory arrest, exhaustion and extreme fatigue  . The aims of MV are: 1) to save time in order to let ARF subside, and 2) to unload the respiratory muscles (RM) in order to let them rest and recover . However, it is still difficult to predict which patients will require MV and when it should be instituted. Furthermore there is no general agreement about which kind of ventilatory support is preferable.
KeywordsChronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Acute Respiratory Failure Pressure Support Ventilation Inspiratory Flow
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