What is the role of mechanical ventilation in the treatment of basilar artery thrombosis?

Updated: Jan 11, 2019
  • Author: Salvador Cruz-Flores, MD, MPH, FAHA, FCCM, FAAN, FACP, FANA; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Generally, endotracheal intubation should be considered in patients with a decreased level of consciousness and Glasgow Coma Scale score of less than 8.

Endotracheal intubation is recommended in most patients to keep their airway clear while maintaining normal ventilation. Of the mechanical ventilation modes, pressure support ventilation (PSV) and synchronized intermittent mandatory ventilation are used most often.

For patients with good respiratory drive, the most comfortable mode is PSV. In this mode, the ventilator does not deliver a set of breaths but provides enough pressure support to maintain the desired tidal volume. The usual goal is to maintain a tidal volume of 5 mL/kg. Most patients with no comorbid pulmonary condition reach this goal with a PSV of 5-10.

Synchronized, intermittent, mandatory ventilation may be a better mode for patients with poor respiratory drive. This form of ventilation delivers a set number of breaths with a set tidal volume, which is synchronized with the patient's inspiratory effort but allows the patient to take extra breaths. Adding PSV during the extra breaths can minimize the patient's respiratory effort during the extra breaths.

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