What has been learnt from P/V curves in patients with acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome

Salvatore Maurizio Maggiore, J. C Richard, L. Brochard

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review


Mechanical impairment of the respiratory system was recognised soon after the description of acute respiratory distress syndrome. The analysis of the pressure/volume (P/V) curve of the respiratory system contributed a lot to the understanding of the pathophysiology of acute lung injury and formed the basis for lung protection. The lower and upper inflection points were regarded as points of interest to avoid cyclic derecruitment and overdistension and to optimise ventilatory settings. However, because of the heterogeneity of lung injury, reducing the mechanical properties of the whole respiratory system to a single curve is a schematic approach, which makes interpretation difficult. New data suggest that alveolar re-inflation occurs along the whole P/V curve that can, therefore, be considered as a recruitment curve. The lower inflection point has no relationship with alveolar opening and closure and does not indicate the positive end-expiratory pressure needed to prevent alveolar collapse. The shape of the P/V curve gives information about the extension and the homogeneity of lung injury, indicating the possibility of lung recruitment. The upper inflection point, classically seen as the beginning of overdistension, may also indicate the end of recruitment. The pressure/volume curve offers the unique opportunity of evaluating alveolar recruitment/derecruitment at the bedside that can be helpful for the identification of optimal ventilatory settings and makes the curve a valuable tool for the ventilatory management of acute lung injury.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)22s-26s
Numero di pagine5
RivistaEuropean Respiratory Journal
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2003
Pubblicato esternamente


  • Acute lung injury
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • Alveolar recruitment
  • Lung protective mechanical ventilation
  • pressure/volume curve
  • respiratory mechanics


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