Date: 17 Jul 2010

Helmet Continuous Positive Airway Pressure: Theory and Technology

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Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is administered to patients to maintain the airway at a selected pressure (usually named the positive end-expiratory pressure, PEEP) higher than that of the atmosphere one. PEEP application has several well-known effects on the respiratory system and hemodynamics, whose description is not among the aims of this chapter. The applied pressure is kept constant throughout the whole respiratory cycle so that intrapulmonary pressure swings around the set level. Patients can breath spontaneously at the selected pressure without any active support of inspiration; it follows that CPAP cannot be strictly considered a form of “ventilation.”