Differences between pressure support ventilation and proportional assist ventilation

The main theoretical difference is the function that airway pressure is designed to follow during inspiration. With pressure support ventilation, pressure rises to a preset level that remains constant until the cycle-off criterion is reached. Therefore the magnitude of ventilator-applied pressure should be unaffected by patient effort. With proportional assist ventilation, the time course of airway pressure is linked to the time course of patient effort. Airway pressure rises as long as inspiratory muscle effort is produced by the patient. What is preset is not a target pressure, but the proportionality between airway pressure and inspiratory muscle effort, i.e. how much airway pressure will rise for a given increase in muscular pressure during inspiration.

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