In conclusion, when one examines the available data and considers a typical medical-surgical ICU, it appears that approximately one third of the patients admitted to the ICU will receive mechanical ventilatory support for more than 12 hours. The reason for initiating mechanical ventilation will be acute respiratory failure in 2 out of every 3 cases. The average age ofthe ventilated patients will likely be close to 62 years of age and in 65% of cases they will be male. Most typically they will be ventilated using an assist-control (A/C) volume based ventilator mode throughout their course on the ventilator. The average Vt and PEEP levels employed are likely to be around 8.5 ml/kg and < 5 cmH2O, respectively. Finally, the average duration of mechanical ventilation will be approximately 5 days with a probability of survival to hospital discharge of about 61%. These estimates are based largely on the multicenter international observational study performed in 1998. Clearly the data presented here may not be applicable to every ICU, and it is possible that practice patterns may have changed in the last fewyears. Nevertheless, these data represent the most up to date and comprehensive information available at the current time. Further studies will be needed in the future to determine how (if at all) these figures are changing over time.


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