The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2008 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Anthony J. Asciutto1, Tate N. Bennett1, Michael A. Gentile1, John D. Davies1, Janice J. Thalman1, Neil R. MacIntyre1

Background: Numerous studies involving both human and laboratory subjects have demonstrated the use of incorrect tidal volume (Vt) can increase the incidence of ventilator induced lung injury (VILI). VILI can subsequently result in longer ventilator stays and increased incidence of ventilator acquired pneumonia. Part of our routine clinical practice is to use a patient's height to calculate predicted body weight (PBW) in order to target Vt as ml/kg. To accurately obtain this information, it is necessary to place a patient in a supine position. This positioning may not always be optimal due to patient's overall status and may be a limiting factor to predicting accurate height. The purpose of this study was to compare a person's height to their width (from fingertip to fingertip) to evaluate if width could be used as an alternative to height measurement for PBW calculation.

Methods: Height and width were measured (inches) in twenty (20) healthy volunteers (12 females, 8 males) and compared using a paired Student's t test.

Conclusion: The mean difference between height and width was 1.3 � 1 which is not significantly different (p = 0.51). Therefore, width (fingertip to fingertip) may be substituted for height in PBW calculations. This may provide clinicians an alternative method for determining Vt.