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High Frequency Ventilation (HFV)

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High frequency ventilation (HFV) provides breathing support for infants and children who are too ill or immature to breathe on their own. HFV may reduce lung injuries associated with conventional mechanical ventilation (CMV).

At Children's Medical Center, we follow a patient-centered model of treatment. By putting the patient first, we bring together all the hospital's resources to meet a child's needs. Critical care physicians work with nurses, respiratory care therapists and others to ensure the best and most innovative treatment is available for each child at a moment's notice.

Patients served by HFV

Critically ill infants with certain lung complications often need some type of mechanical ventilation to survive. High frequency ventilation may be safer than other methods for some infants, especially in those with acute respiratory distress syndrome or certain lung injuries. Other patients who may benefit from HFV include premature infants and children with the following conditions:

  • Pneumonia
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • Lower airway obstructions such as asthma
  • Upper airway obstructions from diseases including croup and epiglottitis
  • Neuromuscular weakness from diseases including Guillain-Barré syndrome and botulism
  • Traumatic brain injury

High frequency ventilation

HFV relies on a bedside machine called a high frequency ventilator. The ventilator supplies oxygen and removes carbon dioxide through a breathing tube placed in the child's windpipe. Physicians and other caregivers can adjust the machine as needed, depending on the child's condition.

HFV mimics normal breathing by sending a short, high frequency blast of measured gas into a child's lungs. The child exhales on his or her own so that HFV supports, rather than replaces, the patient's natural breathing.

To provide support for patients with acute life-threatening conditions, Children's has 83 intensive care beds. Children's Pediatric ICU also conducts leading-edge research and brings new therapies to patients — often years before they are available at other institutions. Our critical care physicians deliver a full range of intensive care services for infants and children.

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