Modern mechanical ventilators are more complex than those first developed in the 1950s. Newer ventilation modes can be difficult to understand and implement clinically, although they provide more treatment options than traditional modes. These newer modes, which can be considered alternative or nontraditional, generally are classified as either volume controlled or pressure controlled. Dual-control modes incorporate qualities of pressure-controlled and volume-controlled modes. Some ventilation modes provide variable ventilatory support depending on patient effort and may be classified as closed-loop ventilation modes. Alternative modes of ventilation are tools for lung protection, alveolar recruitment, and ventilator liberation. Understanding the function and application of these alternative modes prior to implementation is essential and is most beneficial for the patient.

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