Patient-ventilator asynchrony during noninvasive ventilation: The role of expiratory trigger

E. Calderini, M. Confalonieri, P. G. Puccio, N. Francavilla, L. Stella, C. Gregoretti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: Air leaks around the mask are very likely to occur during noninvasive ventilation, in particular when prolonged ventilatory treatment is required. It has been suggested that leaks from the mask may impair the expiratory trigger cycling mechanism when inspiratory pressure support ventilation (PSV) is used. The aim of this study was to compare the short-term effect of two different expiratory cycling mechanisms (time-cycled vs flow-cycled) during noninvasive inspiratory pressure support ventilation (NIPSV) on patient-ventilator synchronisation in severe hypoxemic respiratory failure. Study population: Six patients with acute lung injury (ALI) due to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related opportunistic pneumonia were enrolled in the protocol. Intervention: Each subject was first studied during spontaneous breathing with a Venturi oxygen mask (SB) and successively submitted to a randomly assigned 20' conventional flow-cycling (NIPSVfc) or time-cycling inspiratory pressure support ventilation (NIPSVtc). The pre-set parameters were: inspiratory pressure of 10 cm H2O, PEEP of 5 cm H2O for the same inspired oxygen fraction as during SB. A tight fit of the mask was avoided in order to facilitate air leaks around the mask. The esophageal pressure time product (PTPes) and tidal swings (ΔPes) were measured to evaluate the patient's respiratory effort. A subjective 'comfort score' and the difference between patient and machine respiratory rate [ΔRR(p - v)], calculated on esophageal and airway pressure curves, were used as indices of patient-machine interaction. Results: Air leaks through the mask occurred in five out of six patients. The values of PEEPi (<1.9 cm H2O) excluded significant expiratory muscle activity. NIPSVtc significantly reduced PTPes, ΔPes, and ΔRR(p - v) when compared to NIPSVfc [230 ± 41 (SE) vs 376 ± 72 cm H2O·s·min-1; 8 ± 2 vs 13 ± 2 cm H2O; 1 ± 1 vs 9 ± 2 br·min-1; respectively] with a concomitant significant improvement of the 'comfort score'. Conclusions: In the presence of air leaks a time-cycled expiratory trigger provides a better patient-machine interaction than a flow-cycled expiratory trigger during NIPSV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)662-667
Number of pages6
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1999



  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • Acute respiratory failure
  • Hypoxemia
  • Noninvasive positive pressure ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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