Mechanical ventilation of the critically ill patient is best practiced in the safe confines of the intensive care unit (ICU). Transport of ventilated patients, however, remains a frequent challenge. Successful transport requires effective communication, appropriate planning, key personnel, and compact, rugged equipment. Clinicians should be aware of the physiologic effects of transport, frequency of adverse events, and methods to prevent complications.
Mechanically ventilated patients are moved frequently within the hospital. The most common destinations for patients transported from the ICU are computed tomography (CT) and the operating room with other radiologic modalities also being common. Most transports between the ICU and non Coperating room destinations last 40 to 90 minutes. More recently, portable scanners have been used to perform CT scans in patients with traumatic brain injury to reduce the uncertainties of transport. Magnetic resonance imaging is an increasingly common destination for the critically ill ventilated patient. Safe transport is more challenging in this setting because of limited patient access and the need for nonferrous equipment.