Mechanical Ventilation Alarms & Causes

High pressure limit

Secretions, coughing or gagging. Pt fighting ventilator (vent asyncrony). Condensate (water) in tubing. Kinked or compressed tubing. Increased resistance (bronchospasm). Decreased compliance (pulmonary edema, pneumothorax)

Low pressure limit

Total or partial disconnect. Loss of airway (total or partial extubation). ET tube/trach cuff leak (pt speaking, grunting)

Apnea alarm

Respiratory arrest. Oversedation. Change in pt condition. Loss of airway (total or partial extubation)

High tidal volume, minute ventilation, or respiratory rate

Pain, anxiety. Change in pt condition. Excess condensate in tubing (false reading)

Low tidal volume or minute ventilation

Change in pt breathing efforts (rate & volume). Pt is disconnected, loose connection, or leak in circuit. ET tube/trach cuff leak (pt speaking, grunting). Insufficient gas flow

Ventilator inoperative or low battery

Machine malfunction. Unplugged, power failure, or internal battery not charged.