What are the advantages of controlled mechanical ventilation?

Updated: Sep 15, 2020
  • Author: Christopher D Jackson, MD; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
  • Print


Assist-control differs from controlled ventilation because the patient can trigger the ventilator to deliver a breath and, thereby, adjust their minute ventilation. In controlled ventilation, the patient receives only breaths initiated by the ventilator at the preset rate (see image below).

The pressure, volume, and flow to time waveforms f The pressure, volume, and flow to time waveforms for controlled ventilation.

Although the work of breathing is not eliminated, this mode gives the respiratory muscles the greatest amount of rest because the patient needs only to create enough negative pressure to trigger the machine. An added advantage is that the patient can achieve the required minute ventilation by triggering additional breaths above the set back-up rate.

In most cases, a minute ventilation that provides a reasonable pH based on the respiratory rate is determined by the patient's chemoreceptors and stretch receptors. The respiratory center in the central nervous system receives input from the chemical receptors (arterial blood gas tensions) and neural pathways that sense the mechanical work of breathing (mechanoreceptors). The respiratory rate and respiratory pattern are the result of input from these chemoreceptors and mechanical receptors, which allow the respiratory center to regulate gas exchange. In the assist-control mode, this process is accomplished with the minimum work of breathing.

A second possible advantage of this mode of mechanical ventilation is that cycling the ventilator into the inspiratory phase maintains normal ventilatory activity and, therefore, prevents atrophy of the respiratory muscles.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!