Monitoring of pulmonary mechanics in acute respiratory distress syndrome to titrate therapy

Luciano Gattinoni, Carlesso Eleonora, Pietro Caironi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of review; This paper reviews recent findings regarding the respiratory mechanics during acute respiratory distress syndrome as a tool for tailoring its ventilatory management. Recent findings: The pressure-volume curve has been used for many years as a descriptor of the respiratory mechanics in patients affected by acute respiratory distress syndrome. The use of the sigmoidal equation introduced by Venegas for the analysts of the pressure-volume curve seems to be the most rigorous mathematical approach to assessing lung mechanics. Increasing attention has been focused on the deflation limb for titration of positive end-expiratory pressure. Based on physiologic reasoning, a novel parameter, the stress index, has been proposed for tailoring a safe mechanical ventilation, although its clinical impact has still to be proved. Evidence has confirmed that a variety of underlying pathologies may lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome, making unrealistic any attempt to unify the ventilatory approach. Although extensively proposed to tailor mechanical ventilation during acute respiratory distress syndrome, there is no evidence that the pressure-volume curve may be useful in setting a lung-protective strategy in the presence of different potentials for recruitment. Summary: The Venegas approach should be the standard analysis of pressure-volume curves. In any patient, the potential for recruitment should be assessed, as a basis for tailoring the most effective mechanical ventilation. Further studies are needed to clarify the potential use of the pressure-volume curve to guide a lung-protective ventilatory strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-258
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Critical Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005


  • Acute lung injury
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • Lung recruitment
  • Positive end-expiratory pressure
  • Pressure-volume curve
  • Respiratory mechanics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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