chapter  3
Respiratory support
BySimon Wharton & Roslyn Purcell
Pages 12

Respiratory failure remains the principal reason for the vast

majority of admissions to intensive care. This chapter will

cover a number of important themes. An understanding of

the pathophysiology of respiratory failure and objectives of

respiratory support is essential in the management of crit-

ically ill patients. Because the majority of such patients require

respiratory support, the indications for invasive and non-

invasive ventilation, the physiological effects and potential

complications of mechanical ventilation need to be under-

stood in addition to the different modes of ventilation avail-

able and the ventilatory strategies that are used in particular

disease states. Weaning a patient following a protracted

period of mechanical ventilation may require specific strat-

egies and understanding. The percutaneous tracheostomy

has become a standard part of critical care management of

patients with respiratory failure in recent years, and the indi-

cations for and complications of percutaneous tracheostomy

will be described.