How are spontaneous sighs accounted for in mechanical ventilation?

Updated: Sep 15, 2020
  • Author: Christopher D Jackson, MD; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Because a spontaneously breathing individual typically sighs 6-8 times each hour to prevent microatelectasis, some investigators once recommended that periodic machine breaths that were 1.5-2 times the preset tidal volume be given 6-8 times per hour. However, the peak pressure often needed to deliver such a volume was high enough to predispose the patient to barotrauma. At present, accounting for sighs is not recommended if the patient is receiving tidal volumes of 10-12 mL/kg or if the patient requires PEEP. When a low tidal volume is used, sighs are preset at 1.5-2 times the tidal volume and delivered 6-8 times an hour if the peak and plateau pressures are within acceptable limits.

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