Independent lung ventilation: Implementation strategies and review of literature.


Division of Critical Care, Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, United [Email]


Independent lung ventilation, though infrequently used in the critical care setting, has been reported as a rescue strategy for patients in respiratory failure resulting from severe unilateral lung pathology. This involves isolating and ventilating the right and left lung differently, using separate ventilators. Here, we describe our experience with independent lung ventilation in a patient with unilateral diffuse alveolar hemorrhage, who presented with severe hypoxemic respiratory failure despite maximal ventilatory support. Conventional ventilation in this scenario leads to preferential distribution of tidal volume to the non-diseased lung causing over distension and inadvertent volume trauma. Since each lung has a different compliance and respiratory mechanics, instituting separate ventilation strategies to each lung could potentially minimize lung injury. Based on review of literature, we provide a detailed description of indications and procedures for establishing independent lung ventilation, and also provide an algorithm for management and weaning a patient from independent lung ventilation.


Acute lung injury,Differential lung ventilation,Double lumen tube,Unilateral lung injury,Unilateral pneumonia,Ventilator induced lung injury,

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