Clinical strategies for implementing lung and diaphragm-protective ventilation: avoiding insufficient and excessive effort

Ewan C. Goligher, Annemijn H. Jonkman, Jose Dianti, Katerina Vaporidi, Jeremy R. Beitler, Bhakti K. Patel, Takeshi Yoshida, Samir Jaber, Martin Dres, Tommaso Mauri, Giacomo Bellani, Alexandre Demoule, Laurent Brochard, Leo Heunks*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Mechanical ventilation may have adverse effects on both the lung and the diaphragm. Injury to the lung is mediated by excessive mechanical stress and strain, whereas the diaphragm develops atrophy as a consequence of low respiratory effort and injury in case of excessive effort. The lung and diaphragm-protective mechanical ventilation approach aims to protect both organs simultaneously whenever possible. This review summarizes practical strategies for achieving lung and diaphragm-protective targets at the bedside, focusing on inspiratory and expiratory ventilator settings, monitoring of inspiratory effort or respiratory drive, management of dyssynchrony, and sedation considerations. A number of potential future adjunctive strategies including extracorporeal CO2 removal, partial neuromuscular blockade, and neuromuscular stimulation are also discussed. While clinical trials to confirm the benefit of these approaches are awaited, clinicians should become familiar with assessing and managing patients’ respiratory effort, based on existing physiological principles. To protect the lung and the diaphragm, ventilation and sedation might be applied to avoid excessively weak or very strong respiratory efforts and patient-ventilator dysynchrony.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2314-2326
Number of pages13
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number12
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

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