Esophageal Pressure Measurements in Patients With Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

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Esophageal balloons are used in the respiratory monitoring of critical care patients. After the esophageal pressure is measured, the corresponding pleural pressure in the thorax can be projected, enabling lungthorax compliance to be partitioned into chest-wall compliance and lung compliance. The esophageal balloon allows determination of transpulmonary pressures and a correspondingly individually tailored approach to respiratory care, such as patient-specific titration of positive end-expiratory pressure for patients with extrapulmonary acute respiratory distress syndrome. Esophageal balloon monitoring provides critical information for selecting ventilation strategies to use in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome. (Critical Care Nurse. 2016;36[5]:27-36)

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