The following is the summary of “Impact of a Mechanical Ventilation Curriculum on Respiratory Therapist Recognition of Patient-Ventilator Asynchrony” published in the December 2022 issue of Respiratory Care by Acho, et al.

Patient-ventilator asynchronies can lead to damage, and respiratory therapists (RTs) play a critical role in preventing this. However, no published research has yet to evaluate the ability to work RTs to interpret anomalies in ventilator waveforms, despite waveform analysis being essential for evaluating patient-ventilator asynchronies. This research was conducted from June 2017 to February 2019. About 86 RTs from 2 prestigious hospitals attended a one-day course on mechanical ventilation. About 79  first-time participants’ ratings were factored in. RTs were given a five-question, multiple-choice ventilator waveform exam both before and after the training. They were also asked to rate their own expertise in ventilator management on a scale from 1 (total beginner) to 5 (very skilled professional).

The scores were poor (19.4 ±17.1 vs. 29.6±19.0, P<.001), but they increased after one day of teaching how to use the ventilator. The mean degree of confidence before and after the course did not differ significantly (3.8±0.9 vs. 3.8±1.0, P=.56). Post-course test scores of RTs with 0-10 years of clinical experience were significantly higher than pre-course scores (0-5 y: 12.5 ± 10.1 to 46.0  ± 10.8, P<.001; 6-10 y: 18.7 ±15.8 to 32.1 ±  16.7, P=.02), but post-course test scores of RTs with 11-20 years of clinical experience were not (11-20 y: 22.4 ± 15.5 to 27.4 ±19.0).

It is suggested that respiratory therapists receive further education in interpreting ventilator waveforms early in their clinical education. However, the length and content of a mechanical ventilation curriculum for RTs is still an open question that needs more research.