Improving Adherence to Intraoperative Lung-Protective Ventilation Strategies at a University Medical Center

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Intraoperative lung-protective ventilation (ILPV) is defined as tidal volumes <8 mL/kg ideal bodyweight and is increasingly a standard of care for major abdominal surgical procedures performed under general anesthesia. In this study, we report the result of a quality improvement initiative targeted at improving adherence to ILPV guidelines in a large academic teaching hospital.


We performed a time-series study to determine whether anesthesia provider adherence to ILPV was affected by certain improvement interventions and patient ideal body weight (IBW). Tidal volume data were collected at 3 different time points for 191 abdominal surgical cases from June 2014 through April 2015. Improvement interventions during that period included education at departmental grand rounds, creation of a departmental ILPV policy, feedback of tidal volume and failure rate data at grand rounds sessions, and reducing default ventilator settings for tidal volume. Mean tidal volume per kilogram of ideal body weight (VT/kg IBW) and rates of noncompliance with ILPV were analyzed before and after the interventions. A survey was administered to assess provider attitudes after implementation of improvement interventions. Responses before and after interventions and between physician and nonphysician providers were analyzed.


Reductions in mean VT/kg IBW and rates of failure for providers to use ILPV occurred after improvement interventions. Patients with IBW <65 kg received higher VT/kg IBW and had higher rates of failure to use ILPV than patients with IBW >65 kg. Surveyed providers demonstrated stronger agreement to having knowledge and practice consistent with ILPV after interventions.


Our interventions improved anesthesia provider adherence to low tidal volume ILPV. IBW was found to be an important factor related to provider adherence to ILPV. Provider attitudes about their knowledge and practice consistent with ILPV also changed with our interventions.

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