Utilization of Airway Pressure Release Ventilation as a Rescue Strategy in COVID-19 Patients: A Retrospective Analysis

Omar Mahmoud, Deep Patadia, James Salonia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Airway Pressure Release Ventilation (APRV) is a pressure controlled intermittent mandatory mode of ventilation characterized by prolonged inspiratory time and high mean airway pressure. Several studies have demonstrated that APRV can improve oxygenation and lung recruitment in patients with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). Although most patients with COVID-19 meet the Berlin criteria for ARDS, hypoxic respiratory failure due to COVID-19 may differ from traditional ARDS as patients often present with severe, refractory hypoxemia and significant variation in respiratory system compliance. To date, no studies investigating APRV in this patient population have been published. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of APRV as a rescue mode of ventilation in critically ill patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and refractory hypoxemia. Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of patients admitted with COVID-19 requiring invasive mechanical ventilation who were treated with a trial of APRV for refractory hypoxemia. PaO2/FIO2 (P/F ratio), ventilatory ratio and ventilation outputs before and during APRV were compared. Results: APRV significantly improved the P/F ratio and decreased FIO2 requirements. PaCO2 and ventilatory ratio were also improved. There was an increase in tidal volume per predicted body weight during APRV and a decrease in total minute ventilation. On multivariate analysis, higher inspiratory to expiratory ratio (I: E) and airway pressure were associated with greater improvement in P/F ratio. Conclusions: APRV may improve oxygenation, alveolar ventilation and CO2 clearance in patients with COVID-19 and refractory hypoxemia. These effects are more pronounced with higher airway pressure and inspiratory time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1194-1200
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Intensive Care Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • intensive care unit
  • mechanical ventilation
  • respiratory failure


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