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Oxygen % (prescription)

The amount of oxygen set and delivered by the ventilator during inspiration; usually expressed as a percentage of oxygen between 21 and 100 percent.

Rate / Respiratory Rate (prescription)

The set number of breaths delivered by the ventilator per minute. In certain ventilator modes, there may not be a set rate (those modes allow the patient to breathe on their own).

Total Rate (patient)

The total number of breaths measured (may be from the ventilator and/or patient initiated). The total rate reflects the total number of breaths per minute.

Tidal Volume (prescription)

The volume of gas set to be delivered to the lungs by the ventilator with each breath. The tidal volume refers to the size of the breaths. Tidal volume is usually expressed in milliliters (mL).

Inhaled Tidal Volume (patient)

The volume of gas delivered to the patient by the ventilator.

Exhaled Tidal Volume (patient)1

The actual volume of gas exhaled by the patient. The exhaled tidal volume will often differ from the prescribed tidal volume.

PEEP (prescription)

The pressure applied at the end of exhalation to prevent the air sacs in the lungs from collapsing. PEEP can help improve oxygenation. Pressure is usually expressed in centimeters of water (cmH2O).

Sensitivity (prescription)

The inspiratory effort needed to “trigger” the ventilator to recognize the patient is trying to inhale.

Inspiratory Time (prescription)2

The set amount of time for the ventilator to deliver a breath to the patient.

Inspiratory Pressure (prescription)

The set amount of pressure generated in the lungs by the ventilator with each breath. Inspiratory pressure is expressed in cmH2O units.


  1. Frakes M, Evans T. Ventilation Modes and Monitoring. RT: For Decision Makers in Respiratory Care. Published February 7, 2007. Accessed March 27, 2018.
  2. Medda S. How to Calculate Inspiratory Time. Sciencing website. Published April 24, 2017. Accessed March 27, 2018.

The information and guidance presented on this website is informational only and not intended to influence practice or supersede the instructions for use of any specific device.