What is pressure support ventilation (PSV) for respiratory failure?

Updated: Apr 07, 2020
  • Author: Ata Murat Kaynar, MD; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Pressure support ventilation (PSV) can be categorized as patient-initiated, pressure-targeted ventilation. With PSV, ventilatory assistance occurs only in response to the patient’s spontaneous inspiratory efforts. With each inspiratory effort, the ventilator raises airway pressure by a preset amount. When the inspiratory flow rate decays to a minimal level or to a percentage of initial inspiratory flow (eg, 25% of peak flow), inspiration is terminated.

During PSV, patients are free to choose their own respiratory rate; inspiratory time, inspiratory flow rate, and tidal volume are determined, in part, by the patient’s respiratory efforts. This mode of ventilation should not be used in patients with unstable ventilatory drive, and care must be exercised when the patient’s respiratory mechanics are changing because of bronchospasm, secretions, or varying levels of auto–positive end-expiratory pressure (auto-PEEP).

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