Conclusions

The majority of cardiac surgical patients do not require prolonged ventilatory support. High-risk patients or those with specific conditions may require prolonged ventilation in concert with hemodynamic and other organ support. Basic principles include lung volume maintenance, avoidance of ventilation-induced damage, and achievement of cardiovascular stability before weaning is undertaken. In individual patients, particularly those with abnormal anatomy, an understanding of cardiopulmonary interactions is vital in constructing respiratory support regimens.

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