Pressure-controlled versus volume-controlled ventilation for acute respiratory failure: uncertain if there is an important difference in outcomes

Added March 20, 2020

Citation: Chacko B, Peter J V, Tharyan P, et al. Pressure-controlled versus volume-controlled ventilation for acute respiratory failure due to acute lung injury (ALI) or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015; (1): CD008807

What is this? Some patients with COVID-19 will develop respiratory failure and need help with their breathing. This might be provided by mechanical ventilation (MV) in an intensive care unit (ICU), but this can cause complications. Techniques used to prevent these complications are different ways for controlling the pressure or volume of air delivered by MV.

In this Cochrane systematic review, the authors searched for randomized and quasi-randomized trials which compared pressure-controlled ventilation (PCV) versus volume-controlled ventilation (VCV) in adults with acute respiratory failure. They did not restrict by language or publication status and did their searches in October 2014. They identified three randomized trials (1089 participants).

What works: Nothing noted.

What doesn’t work: Nothing noted.

What’s uncertain: It is uncertain if there is a difference between PCV and VCV for the following outcomes, for adults with acute respiratory failure: mortality in the ICU, barotrauma, duration of MV, infection during MV or quality of life after discharge.


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