Chapter 7 | Non-Invasive Ventilation

By definition, any application of positive airway pressure (PAP) to the lungs is considered ventilation. You have learned about both types of invasive ventilation—control and spontaneous. Now you will discover non-invasive ventilation (NIV).

This chapter covers:

  • What is non-invasive ventilation?
  • CPAP and BiPAP: definitions and uses
  • Indications and contraindications for NIV
  • Who is the ideal NIV patient?
  • Initial settings and titration for NIV
  • Assessing NIV efficacy


As you have already learned, invasive ventilation should be used as little as possible—only when necessary and for the shortest possible time—because it is more traumatic for the lungs. A less traumatic option for supporting normal oxygen and CO2 levels is non-invasive ventilation—usually BiPAP. In this chapter, you will learn more about when NIV is a safe option for patients, including initial settings and common adjustments. You will also learn how to assess the degree to which NIV is working for your patient. Altogether, this information will help you use, and support the use of, NIV in your health care practice.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this chapter, you will be able to:

  1. Define non-invasive ventilation, with examples.
  2. Explain why CPAP does not qualify as ventilation.
  3. Identify when to use non-invasive ventilation.
  4. Implement initial settings in NIV.
  5. Assess how well NIV is working for a patient.

Key Terms

  • Non-Invasive Ventilation (NIV)
  • Positive Airway Pressure (PAP)
  • Biphasic Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP)
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
  • Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure (EPAP)
  • Inspiratory Positive Airway Pressure (IPAP)
  • aspiration
  • airway patency

Whenever these terms are first introduced in this chapter, they are bolded. However, if you need additional information about a term than what is provided here, you can research it in The Free Dictionary: Medical Dictionary.


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