Use plateau pressure, rather than peak inspiratory pressure, as a means of assessing the risk of barotrauma * One mechanism (of many) by which mechanical ventilation can induce acute lung injury in patients with ARDS is overdistention of the alveoli * 2 common parameters used to assess airway pressures are plateau pressure (Pplat) and peak inspiratory pressure (PIP) * Pplat approximates small airway and alveolar pressures more closely than PIP * ARDSnet trial demonstrated a reduction in the number of ventilator days and mortality when Pplat was maintained < 30 cm H2O. References: 1. ARDS Network. Ventilation with lower tidal volumes as compared with traditional tidal volumes for acute lung injury and the acute respiratory distress syndrome. NEJM 2000;342:1301-8. 2. Marcucci L, ed. Avoiding common ICU errors. Philadelphia; Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2007:275-6.