What are the modes of ventilation in noninvasive ventilation (NIV)?

Updated: Jun 18, 2020
  • Author: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Choosing the initial mode of ventilation is based in part on past experience, in part on the capability of ventilators available to provide support, and in part on the condition being treated. Most patients who are provided noninvasive ventilation are provided support with pressure ventilation, with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which is the most basic level of support. CPAP may be especially useful in patients with congestive heart failure or obstructive sleep apnea.

Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) is probably the most common mode noninvasive positive pressure ventilation and requires provisions for inspiratory positive airway pressure (IPAP) and expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP). The difference between IPAP and EPAP is a reflection of the amount of pressure support ventilation provided to the patient, and EPAP is synonymous with positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP). Some noninvasive ventilation is provided using proportional-assist ventilation (PAV), which provides flow and volume assistance with each breath. Clinical trials have not demonstrated a significant difference between PAV and pressure-support ventilation with BiPAP. [5, 6] However, BiPAP is the most commonly available and more frequently used modality for noninvasive ventilation. PAV remains available on many ventilator models, but use is much less common than BiPAP.

While volume ventilators can be used to provide noninvasive ventilatory support, the previously described modes are preferred because they provide better patient comfort and synchrony and are more tolerant of the leaks that accompany all noninvasive ventilatory interfaces.

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