Oesophageal balloon calibration during pressure support ventilation: a proof of concept study

Gianmaria Cammarota, Federico Verdina, Erminio Santangelo, Gianluigi Lauro, Ester Boniolo, Riccardo Tarquini, Elena Spinelli, Marta Zanoni, Eugenio Garofalo, Andrea Bruni, Antonio Pesenti, Francesco Della Corte, Paolo Navalesi, Rosanna Vaschetto, Tommaso Mauri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Oesophageal balloon calibration improves the oesophageal pressure (Pes) assessment during invasive controlled mechanical ventilation. The primary aim of the present investigation was to ascertain the feasibility of oesophageal balloon calibration during pressure support ventilation (PSV). Secondarily, the calibrated Pes (Pescal) was compared to uncalibrated one acquired at 4 ml-filling volume (PesV4), as per manufacturer recommendation. After a naso-gastric tube equipped with oesophageal balloon was correctly positioned in 21 adult patients undergoing invasive volume-controlled ventilation (VCV) for acute hypoxemic respiratory failure, the balloon was progressively inflated, applying a series of end-inspiratory and end-expiratory holds at each filling volume during VCV and PSV. Upon optimal balloon filling volume (Vbest) was identified, Pescal was computed by correcting the Pes measured at Vbest for the oesophageal wall pressure elicited at same filling volume. Finally, end-expiratory and end-inspiratory PesV4 were recorded too. A total of 42 calibrations, 21 per ventilatory mode, were performed. Vbest was 1.9 ± 1.6 ml in VCV and 1.7 ± 1.6 ml in PSV (p = 0.5217). PesV4 was overestimated compared to Pescal at end-expiration and end-inspiration (p <0.0001 for all comparisons) in both VCV (13.4 ± 3.4 cmH2O and 15.4 ± 3 cmH2O vs. 8.5 ± 2.9 cmH2O and 11.4 ± 3 cmH2O) and PSV (14.7 ± 4.2 cmH2O and 17 ± 3.9 cmH2O vs. 8.9 ± 3.4 cmH2O and 12.4 ± 3.9 cmH2O). In PSV, oesophageal balloon calibration is feasible and allows to obtain a reliable Pes assessment compared to uncalibrated approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1223-1231
JournalJournal of Clinical Monitoring and Computing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Artefacts
  • Artificial respiration
  • Manometry
  • Oesophagus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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