Variable Mechanical Ventilation: Breaking the Monotony

  • M. Gama de Abreu
  • P. M. Spieth
  • P. Pelosi


Healthy biological systems are characterized by intrinsic variability of their function even during conditions of apparent steady state, i.e., conditions that do not require major adaptation to the external environment. The most impressive example is the heart, exhibiting large variability of cardiac rhythm over short and long time scales at rest [1]. The respiratory system behaves similarly, with fluctuations of respiratory rate and/or tidal volumes observed in resting subjects [2, 3]. Such intrinsic variability, however, can be diminished or even abolished in diseased biological systems. For instance, heart rate variability may be impaired in patients with coronary heart disease even before symptoms appear [4]. A decrease of variability in respiratory rate and/or tidal volumes has been also reported in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) [5] and in those who failed to wean from mechanical ventilation [6]. In addition, the use of sedative drugs, which is commonly required during mechanical ventilation, may impair the natural variation of the respiratory pattern [7].


Mechanical Ventilation Tidal Volume Respir Crit Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia Control Mechanical Ventilation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Gama de Abreu
    • 1
  • P. M. Spieth
    • 1
  • P. Pelosi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive CareUniversity Hospital Carl Gustav CarusDresdenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Ambient Health and Safety Service of Anesthesia B Ospedale di CircoloUniversity of InsubriaVareseItaly

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