Skip to main content

Mechanical ventilation with controlled pressure and controlled volume in septic patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome


It is known that mechanical ventilation with the adoption of high tidal volumes (VT = 10–15 ml/kg) has a relationship with the increase of the death rate in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) [1]. Since then, different ventilatory strategies have been investigated adopting small tidal volumes; however, there is no agreement about which of them would cause a minimal pulmonary aggression to the preexisting injury.


To compare two methods of mechanical ventilation employed in septic patients with ARDS (controlled volume and controlled pressure), both adopting permissive hypercapnia, evaluating the hemodynamic and respiratory effects of those patients.


Research previously approved by the Hospital's Medical Ethics Committee, prospective and randomized, performed in the intensive care unit of the Hospital of UNICAMP. Seven patients were ventilated with controlled volume and nine patients with controlled pressure (Bird 8400® Sti ventilator for both groups), the tidal volume variation being between 6 and 8 ml/kg, accepting PaCO2 until 80 mmHg with pH > 7.2. The ideal positive end expiratory pressure was calculated based on the higher compliance level through the method of progressive positive end expiratory pressure. The selected patients were submitted to the Murray scale [2] with LIS ≥ 2.5, and the Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment [3] and Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II scale were applied to evaluate their gravity on the moment of the protocol inclusion. Hemodynamic and respiratory monitoring was carried out by Swan–Ganz catheter, gasometry (arterial and venous) and capnometry sampling, twice a day during three subsequent days.


There were no parameter differences between both mechanical ventilation groups. There was a significant difference for both groups, from the first to the second day of collection, only on the following parameters: pH rise and reductions of PaCO2 and RVP.


All septic patients with ARDS studied, when ventilated with low VT (6–8 ml/kg), both in controlled volume and controlled pressure, did not present differences in the lung function nor in the hemodynamic state.

Table 1 Patient characteristics at entry
Table 2 Results of the variable analyzed for both groups (controlled volume and controlled pressure) over three subsequent days


  1. The Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Network: Ventilation with lower tidal volumes as compared with traditional tidal volumes for acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome. N Engl J Med 2000, 342: 1301-1308. 10.1056/NEJM200005043421801

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Murray J, Matai MA, Lucre J, Flick MR: An expanded definition of the adult respiratory distress syndrome. Am Respir Dis 1998, 38: 720-723.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Vincent JL, Moreno R, Takala J, Wilatts S, De Mendonça A, Bruining H, Reinhart CK, Suter PM, Thijs LG: The SOFA (Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment) score to describe organ dysfunction/failure. Intensive Care Med 1996, 22: 707-710. 10.1007/s001340050156

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references


Research project developed for Master degree with the support of Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sperling, M., Dragosavac, D. Mechanical ventilation with controlled pressure and controlled volume in septic patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome. Crit Care 7, P48 (2003).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI:


  • Mechanical Ventilation
  • Tidal Volume
  • Control Volume
  • Control Pressure
  • Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome