8 doctors weighed in:
What does it mean if a high pressure alarm sounds on a mechanical ventilator?
8 doctors weighed in

Dr. William Goldsmith
Critical Care
3 doctors agree
In brief: Occlusion
The high pressure alarm means there is an occlusion somewhere along the system of tubes that lead to the air sacs in the lungs.
High pressure can be caused by the patient biting the endotracheal tube, secretions plugging the tube or the airways, bronchspasm, and many other causes.

In brief: Occlusion
The high pressure alarm means there is an occlusion somewhere along the system of tubes that lead to the air sacs in the lungs.
High pressure can be caused by the patient biting the endotracheal tube, secretions plugging the tube or the airways, bronchspasm, and many other causes.
Dr. William Goldsmith
Dr. William Goldsmith
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1 comment
Dr. Michael DePietro
This means it is harder for the ventilator to inflate the lungs. ( takes more pressure) This occurs when there is an obstruction in tubes leading to the patient or if the patients airway is narrowed as can happen with secretions or inflammation/ constriction of the bronchi. ( like in asthma) It can also happen when the lung is stiffer filled with fluid, or inflamed, as with pneumonia or CHF
Dr. Patrick Wyffels
Critical Care
2 doctors agree
In brief: Usually Obstruction
Anything causing resistance to the ventilator "giving" a breath can cause the alarm. Usually this is from secretions or plugs in the ventilator tubing, tracheostomy or endotracheal tube, or in the patient's lung "air tubes" ( pneumonia, pulmonary edema ).
Coughs or resistance to the breath - alarm. A "stiff" (ARDS) or compressed ( blood or air in chest ) lung or high abdominal pressures - alarm.

In brief: Usually Obstruction
Anything causing resistance to the ventilator "giving" a breath can cause the alarm. Usually this is from secretions or plugs in the ventilator tubing, tracheostomy or endotracheal tube, or in the patient's lung "air tubes" ( pneumonia, pulmonary edema ).
Coughs or resistance to the breath - alarm. A "stiff" (ARDS) or compressed ( blood or air in chest ) lung or high abdominal pressures - alarm.
Dr. Patrick Wyffels
Dr. Patrick Wyffels
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Dr. Sue Ferranti
Internal Medicine
In brief: Possibilities...
The ventilator's high pressure alarm sounds when the machine has to deliver the breath at a force that exceeds the highest pressure that the machine has been programmed to accept.
There are many reasons for this to occur. For example, there could be an obstruction in the ventilator circuit or the patient could be coughing or wheezing as the vent attempts to deliver the breath.

In brief: Possibilities...
The ventilator's high pressure alarm sounds when the machine has to deliver the breath at a force that exceeds the highest pressure that the machine has been programmed to accept.
There are many reasons for this to occur. For example, there could be an obstruction in the ventilator circuit or the patient could be coughing or wheezing as the vent attempts to deliver the breath.
Dr. Sue Ferranti
Dr. Sue Ferranti
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