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Original Research: Critical Care |

Pressure-Controlled vs Volume-Controlled Ventilation in Acute Respiratory FailurePC vs VC Ventilation in Acute Respiratory Failure: A Physiology-Based Narrative and Systematic Review

Nuttapol Rittayamai, MD; Christina M. Katsios, MD; François Beloncle, MD; Jan O. Friedrich, MD, PhD; Jordi Mancebo, MD; Laurent Brochard, MD
Author and Funding Information

From the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and Critical Care Department (Drs Rittayamai, Beloncle, Friedrich, and Brochard), St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada; Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine (Drs Rittayamai, Katsios, Beloncle, Friedrich, and Brochard), University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; Division of Respiratory Diseases and Tuberculosis (Dr Rittayamai), Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand; Medical Intensive Care Unit (Dr Beloncle), Hospital of Angers, Université d’Angers, Angers, France; Servei de Medicina Intensiva (Dr Mancebo), Hospital Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain; and Keenan Research Centre (Dr Brochard), St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada.

CORRESPONDENCE TO: Laurent Brochard, MD, St. Michael’s Hospital, 30 Bond St, Toronto, ON, M5B 1W8, Canada; e-mail: brochardl@smh.ca


FUNDING/SUPPORT: The authors have reported to CHEST that no funding was received for this study.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2015;148(2):340-355. doi:10.1378/chest.14-3169
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BACKGROUND:  Mechanical ventilation is a cornerstone in the management of acute respiratory failure. Both volume-targeted and pressure-targeted ventilations are used, the latter modes being increasingly used. We provide a narrative review of the physiologic principles of these two types of breath delivery, performed a literature search, and analyzed published comparisons between modes.

METHODS:  We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine whether pressure control-continuous mandatory ventilation (PC-CMV) or pressure control-inverse ratio ventilation (PC-IRV) has demonstrated advantages over volume control-continuous mandatory ventilation (VC-CMV). The Cochrane tool for risk of bias was used for methodologic quality. We also introduced physiologic criteria as quality indicators for selecting the studies. Outcomes included compliance, gas exchange, hemodynamics, work of breathing, and clinical outcomes. Analyses were completed with RevMan5 using random effects models.

RESULTS:  Thirty-four studies met inclusion criteria, many being at high risk of bias. Comparisons of PC-CMV/PC-IRV and VC-CMV did not show any difference for compliance or gas exchange, even when looking at PC-IRV. Calculating the oxygenation index suggested a poorer effect for PC-IRV. There was no difference between modes in terms of hemodynamics, work of breathing, or clinical outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS:  The two modes have different working principles but clinical available data do not suggest any difference in the outcomes. We included all identified trials, enhancing generalizability, and attempted to include only sufficient quality physiologic studies. However, included trials were small and varied considerably in quality. These data should help to open the choice of ventilation of patients with acute respiratory failure.

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