Terragni P, Ranieri VM, Brazzi L. Curr Opin Crit Care. 2015 Feb;21(1):20-5
Purpose of review: To discuss the mechanisms of ventilator-induced lung injury and the pro and cons of the different approaches proposed by literature to minimize its impact in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Recent findings: Mechanical ventilation is indispensable to manage respiratory failure. The evolution of knowledge of the physiological principles and of the clinical implementation of mechanical ventilation is characterized by the shift of interest from its capability to restore ‘normal gas exchange’ to its capability of causing further lung damage and multisystem organ failure.
Summary: If one of the essential teachings to young intensivists in the 1980s was to ensure mechanical ventilation restored being able to immediately drain a pneumothorax (barotrauma), nowadays priority we teach to young intensivists is to implement ‘protective’ ventilation to protect the lungs from the pulmonary and systemic effects of ventilator-induced lung injury (biotrauma). At the same time, priority of clinical research shifted from the search of optimal ventilator settings (best positive end-expiratory pressure) and to the evaluation of ‘super-protective’ ventilation that integrating partial or total extracorporeal support tries to minimize the use of mechanical ventilation.