Mechanical ventilation: past lessons and the near future [review]
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The ability to compensate for life-threatening failure of respiratory function is perhaps the signature technology of intensive care medicine. Unchanging needs for providing effective life-support with minimized risk and optimized comfort have been, are now, and will be the principal objectives of providing mechanical ventilation. Important lessons acquired over nearly half-a-century of ICU care have brought us closer to meeting them, as technological advances in instrumentation now effectively put this hard-won knowledge into action. Rising demand in the face of economic constraints is likely to drive future innovations focused on reducing the need for user input, automating multi-element protocols, and carefully monitoring the patient for progress and complications.
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