Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 11, pp 1936–1939 | Cite as

Is my patient’s respiratory drive (too) high?

  • Irene Telias
  • Laurent BrochardEmail author
  • Ewan C. Goligher
What's New in Intensive Care

What “drives” the respiratory drive?

The intensity of the neural stimulus to breathe is called “respiratory drive” [1] and plays a major role in acute respiratory failure before, during, and after mechanical ventilation. Respiratory drive modulates inspiratory effort (the pressure generated by the respiratory muscles) according to metabolic needs through various feedback control mechanisms. It primarily responds to chemical inputs from the central and peripheral chemoreceptors. Additional stimuli arise from mechanoreceptors and vagal inputs (from chest wall, respiratory muscles, airways, and lungs) [1]. The control of breathing is also influenced by behavioral factors and activities (talking, swallowing, exercise), pain (e.g., post-operative patients), temperature, and inflammatory chemokines (e.g., during endotoxemia). Brainstem inflammation may also directly influence the control of breathing [2]. Patients with acute respiratory failure may exhibit high respiratory drive due to...


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Conflicts of interest

IT received consulting fees from MBMed SA. LB’s research laboratory received research grants and/or equipment from Covidien, General Electric, Fisher Paykel, Maquet, Air Liquide, and Philips. EG’s laboratory receives support in the form of equipment from GE and Getinge.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature and ESICM 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irene Telias
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Laurent Brochard
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ewan C. Goligher
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Keenan Research CentreLi Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s HospitalTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Division of Respirology, Department of MedicineUniversity Health Network and Sinai Health SystemTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Santorio Mater DeiBuenos AiresArgentina

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