It is increasingly evident that there is little data available to compare the use of various modes of mechanical ventilation or to assess their application. It is difficult to compare the new modes of mechanical ventilation with the conventional modes because of a similar lack of clinical data. The challenge for future research in the area of ventilator technology is to generate controlled clinical studies to support its application. With the increased impact of financial constraints on healthcare, research will also need to examine the economic issues related to the application of newer modes of mechanical ventilation. The critical care nurse will be faced with the continued challenge of being knowledgeable regarding the current trends in ventilatory support and their potential advantages and disadvantages, while keeping in perspective those areas where clinical research is lacking. Possibilities for future nursing research related to mechanical ventilation are endless. The application and refinement of assessment parameters to evaluate the impact of nursing interventions on mechanically ventilated patients should be a key focus. The growing use of SVO2 monitoring in conjunction with other assessment parameters may prove to be useful tools to measure the impact of interventions such as suctioning, positioning, muscle reconditioning, weaning techniques, and comfort measures on mechanically ventilated patients.

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