Scope of mechanical ventilation and need for innovations
The concepts underlying airway management and respiratory support have their roots in antiquity. Today, millions of patients worldwide receive mechanical ventilatory support each year. This utilization is likely to grow as the population grows, the population ages, and aggressive surgery and medical therapies place more patients at risk for lung injury. Although very effective at providing support of gas exchange, mechanical ventilation has significant potential complications. Among the most important are lung 'stretch' injury, cardiovascular compromise, infections, patient discomfort, and expense. Innovations are needed to address all these issues.
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