What is Chronic Mechanical Ventilation?

The Critical Care team at London Health Sciences Centre aims to improve the care of all persons requiring chronic mechanical ventilation. This includes:

  • Patients requiring a mechanical ventilator for 21 days or more.  This group of patients who require the ventilator for this period of time are called "prolonged mechanical ventilation or PMV". These persons have also been described as having "chronic critical illness".

  • Patients in need of a mechanical ventilator for the rest of their life.   When patients require mechanical ventilator for the rest of their life, this is called "long-term mechanical ventilation’or LTV". This life support technology can be ‘invasive’ (through a tracheostomy) or ‘non-invasive’ (using a facemask). Furthermore the need may be ‘continuous’ (24 hours per day) or ‘nocturnal’ (night time))only.

  • Patients due to their chronic disease processes, are at risk for needing  mechanical ventilation permanently.  These patients need to be closely monitored for signs of respiratory failure, so that mechanical ventilaton can be started on a proactive basis, versus waiting for an acute event with life threatening deterioriation.