During synchronised mechanical ventilation, positive airway pressure and spontaneous inspiration coincide. If synchronous ventilation is provoked, adequate gas exchange should be achieved at lower peak airway pressures, potentially reducing baro/volutrauma, air leak and bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Synchronous ventilation can potentially be achieved by manipulation of rate and inspiratory time during conventional ventilation and employment of patient-triggered ventilation.
To compare the efficacy of:
(i) synchronised mechanical ventilation, delivered as high-frequency positive pressure ventilation (HFPPV) or patient-triggered ventilation (assist control ventilation (ACV) and synchronous intermittent mandatory ventilation (SIMV)), with conventional ventilation or high-frequency oscillation (HFO);
(ii) different types of triggered ventilation (ACV, SIMV, pressure-regulated volume control ventilation (PRVCV), SIMV with pressure support (PS) and pressure support ventilation (PSV)).
Compared to conventional ventilation, benefit is demonstrated for both HFPPV and triggered ventilation with regard to a reduction in air leak and a shorter duration of ventilation, respectively. In none of the trials was complex respiratory monitoring undertaken and thus it is not possible to conclude that the mechanism of producing those benefits is by provocation of synchronised ventilation. Triggered ventilation in the form of SIMV ± PS resulted in a greater risk of BPD and duration of ventilation compared to HFO. Optimisation of trigger and ventilator design with respect to respiratory diagnosis is encouraged before embarking on further trials. It is essential that newer forms of triggered ventilation are tested in randomised trials that are adequately powered to assess long-term outcomes before they are incorporated into routine clinical practice.