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Welcome to the Royal North Shore Hospital “Basics of mechanical ventilation” teaching module.

Through this module you will learn the fundamental principles of mechanical ventilation: the basic mechanics of a ventilator, how to start, adjust and troubleshoot a ventilator and how to integrate the ventilator function into assessment and care of a critically ill patient.

There are formative questions throughout the module to emphasise the key take-home messages, as well as a quiz at the end of the module.

Good luck and enjoy the learning!


The objectives of this module are built around the Ventilation Work-Based Competency Assessment of the College of Intensive Care Medicine of Australia and New Zealand.

At the end of this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the basic ventilator components
  • Understand basic respiratory physiology and apply that knowledge to adjusting ventilation
  • Configure the ventilator settings to choose an appropriate ventilation mode for your patient
  • Set appropriate alarms and troubleshoot common problems

Clinical Case

A 51 year old man presents to ED in respiratory distress. His oxygen saturations are 72% on a non-rebreather mask and he is clearly tiring.  The ED consultant is setting up for intubation and has asked for your help in this patient’s post-intubation care.  The patient is a lifelong smoker with a background of hypertension.

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