Key messages

• Inverse ratio ventilation has not shown any benefit when compared with conventional volume-controlled ventilation, at the same PEEP levels and minute ventilation, in patients with acute lung injury.

• Airway pressure release ventilation is a mode which allows spontaneous breathing at any time, during either the inspiratory or expiratory phase. One study performed in acute lung injury patients showed an improvement in arterial oxygenation when airway pressure release ventilation was compared with volume-controlled inverse ratio ventilation.

• Proportional assist ventilation is a mode which provides airway pressure in proportion to patient effort. It seems to be very useful for patients with stable respiratory mechanics and changing ventilatory demands.

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