Mechanical Ventilation- Terminology

Volume controlled ventilation

We can put a certain volume of air into the patient with each breath in mechanical ventilation

Pressure controlled ventilation

We can put air into the patient until the pressure reaches a certain value.


We can decide how often we give the patient a breath each minute, or how often the patient is initiating their own breath each minute, or a combination of the two.


In other words the oxygen concentration we give to the patient, from 21% (room air) to 100%.

Peak Pressure

Maximum pressure in the proximal airway at the end of inspiration

Plateau Pressure

Equilibrium pressure reached if the expiratory tubing is occluded at the end of inspiration. It is a surrogate for end-inspiratory alveolar pressure

What triggers the breath?

Do we have the patient decide when they want to breathe, or do we have the ventilator decide when to initiate a breath. Or indeed a combination of the two? Is it ventilator controlled or patient controlled?

Guidelines for the management of tracheal intubation in critically ill adults

Having read the guidelines I made these infographics. They are FREE. Just let me know your email address and they will be sent to you.