Volume ventilation by demand flow ventilators significantly increases work of breathing during inspiration. Although various ventilator modifications and different modes of ventilation have been developed, there have been few studies regarding imposed work of breathing in infants and children. This study was designed to evaluate several modifications of a commercially available demand flow ventilator designed to shorten response time (tr) and decrease the imposed work (Wi) involved in opening the demand valve. Minimum withdrawal volume (Vmin), maximum negative pressure (Pmneg), and tr were measured. Wi was defined as the product of Vmin and Pmneg. Seven Siemens Servo(R) 900C ventilators were tested under 16 different trial conditions with four variables: 1) mode of ventilation (synchronized intermittent mandatory ventilation [SIMV] vs. pressure support ventilation [PSV]); 2) caliber of circuit tubing (adult vs. pediatric); 3) location of airway pressure monitor (distal vs. proximal); and 4) ventilator trigger sensitivity (0 cm H2O-high vs. -2 cm H2O-low). Vmin, Pmneg, and Wi were all decreased (P < .05) while tr was unaffected by changing ventilator trigger sensitivity from low to high. Wi was decreased by pediatric tubing and proximal airway pressure monitoring only when low trigger sensitivity was used. PSV and proximal airway monitoring shortened tr. The authors conclude that the use of pediatric circuit tubing and proximal airway pressure monitoring with a Siemens Servo(R) 900C ventilator significantly improved ventilator performance.
(C) 1989 American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc.