Mechanical ventilators are used to support or replace spontaneous breathing in patients and animals suffering from inadequate respiratory functions. Ventilators are also often used as part of long-term anesthesia procedures, due to the depression of the respiratory system by certain anesthesia agents, and when neuromuscular blocking (NMB) agents are used. Mechanical ventilators are selected based on the size and weight of the animal. Ventilators retired from human use are usually reutilized for laboratory animals. For small animals, such as rats and mice, neonatal ventilators can be used since they can deliver smaller, more precise volumes and pressures.
Despite their life-saving application, mechanical ventilators come with their associated risks and complications. Mechanical ventilators have the potential to cause lung injury referred to as ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI), lead to the rapid type of disuse atrophy in respiratory-related muscles, barotrauma, and impairment of mucociliary motility in the airways, among other complications. The interest in the risks and complications arising from ventilator use and the relationship betwee