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Innovative Ventilation Strategies

Hospital ward

Key information

Innovative ventilation technologies in adults and children: an evidence synthesis to inform clinical practice and future research priorities

Chief Investigators: Dr Keith Couper and Dr Yen-Fu Chen

Sponsor: University of Warwick

Registration Number: Open Science Framework


We plan to find out what evidence is currently available about whether new ventilation technologies improve patient outcomes.
Every year in the UK, 60,000 adults and 10,000 children go on a ventilator on an intensive care unit. Many more patients in hospital are at risk of becoming so unwell that they might need to go on a ventilator. Conditions such as sepsis or pneumonia are common reasons for needing to go on a ventilator. Going on a ventilator is life-saving. However, around one-third of patients that go on a ventilator unfortunately die. Patients that survive often report long-term effects on their quality of life.
We know from previous research that how we care for patients on a ventilator affects their recovery. This includes the type of ventilator used, the position in which patients lie, and how much air is pushed in by the ventilator. Many new technologies have been developed that aim to improve how we care for patients on ventilators.
These technologies may not have been tested in large research studies, but we may have evidence from smaller studies. The evidence is quickly growing. This means that clinicians and service commissioners may not know all the evidence to help them decide if a technology should be used. Research funders may not know which technologies to prioritise for research funding.
We will summarise all available relevant evidence on new ventilation technologies, including different ventilators and modes of ventilation.
The project will be supported by an expert reference group, which will consist of service commissioners, health professionals, and patients and members of the public.
The group will have three key roles: Help us identify technologies, prioritise which technologies we will look at in detail, and help us communicate study findings.
Our project has two stages.
First, we will search for and summarise the evidence for all technologies. We will create diagrams
(evidence maps) to show the number and type of studies and a summary of what was found for each
technology. As part of this work, we will produce specific diagrams for adults and children, and other
patient groups.
Second, we will work with the expert reference group to prioritise four technologies for a very detailed analysis of the evidence. This will help us work out whether they are effective and offer value-for-money for the NHS. We will also describe whether further research is needed.
We worked closely with patients and the public to develop this study. We presented the study to a group of patients and the public (several had experience of being on a ventilator) who supported the study.
The research team is joined by a patient representative with personal experience of going on a
ventilator, who will sit on our study management group. Patients and members of the public will join our expert reference group to ensure we remain focussed on the interests of patients. The time and
expenses of patient and public colleagues will be paid according to national guidelines.
We will share study information with patients and the public, doctors and nurses, NHS leaders, and research funders. We will use infographics and social media to help us tell people about the study and its results. In our reports, we will describe how we worked with patient and public partners throughout the study.


September 2023- February 2025


Dr Keith Couper