Mechanical Power: A New Concept in Mechanical Ventilation

Robin Paudel, Christine A. Trinkle, Christopher M. Waters, Lauren E. Robinson, Evan Cassity, Jamie L. Sturgill, Richard Broaddus, Peter E. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Mechanical ventilation is a potentially life-saving therapy for patients with acute lung injury, but the ventilator itself may cause lung injury. Ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI) is sometimes an unfortunate consequence of mechanical ventilation. It is not clear however how best to minimize VILI through adjustment of various parameters including tidal volume, plateau pressure, driving pressure, and positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP). No single parameter provides a clear indication for onset of lung injury attributable exclusively to the ventilator. There is currently interest in quantifying how static and dynamic parameters contribute to VILI. One concept that has emerged is the consideration of the amount of energy transferred from the ventilator to the respiratory system per unit time, which can be quantified as mechanical power. This review article reports on recent literature in this emerging field and future roles for mechanical power assessments in prospective studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-545
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of the Medical Sciences
Issue number6
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Grants HL131526 and HL151419 (CMW).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Southern Society for Clinical Investigation


  • Acute respiratory distress syndromes
  • Mechanical energy
  • Mechanical power
  • Mechanical ventilator
  • Ventilator induced lung injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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