When should I Consider Ventilating (± intubating) Patients)


Clinical assessment outweighs any "result" such as an ABG / CXR or other objective measurement (see below).

Consider institution of ventilation in the presence of:

  • Threatened airway

  • Fatigue or imminent exhaustion

  • Inability to effectively cough or clear secretions

  • Respiratory failure, hypoxaemic or hypercaemic


Objective measurements

In the appropriate clinical setting, and where time allows a combination of the following may assist your decision.

  • Resp rate > 30 breaths per minute

  • Abnormal oxygenation as indicated by:

      • PaO2 <75 mmHg on an FiO2 > 1.4 (40% O2)

      • PaO2 : FiO2 ratio < 150

  • Depressed minute ventilation as indicated by:

      • PaO2 > 60 mmHg

  • Level of consciousness


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Page last reviewed: 13 May 2014