RespiSim LMS grants you access to self guided e-learning courses concentrating on high quality mechanical ventilation content

  • Includes acclaimed Standardized Education for Ventilatory Assistance (SEVA™) Curriculum, developed by the Cleveland Clinic – Learn More
  • Use the e-learning courses available through the LMS as an adjunct to your curriculum, primarily encouraging learners to complete the courses outside of class and/ or as a supplement to classroom instruction
  • Learners can complete the self-guided e-learning courses to strengthen understanding of key concepts in mechanical ventilation
  • Access a User Forum that promotes collaboration and knowledge-sharing between groups of both instructors and learners

Respiratory 101

The respiratory 101 curriculum provides learners with a deeper comprehension of the anatomy and physiology of the pulmonary system as well as mechanical ventilation interaction and airway management. Once the course is completed, learners will understand how lung compliance and resistance affect lung mechanics as well as how they interact with mechanical ventilators.

Course Outline:

  1. Basic Respiratory Mechanics
  2. Patient Assessment
  3. Types of Ventilation
  4. Airway Management


This course serves as an introduction to the SEVA learning program for mechanical ventilation. Topics are simplified to accommodate the beginning learner. It is comprised of 5 topics and is an online, self-directed course requiring a post-test.

Upon completingthe course, passing all course quizzes, and scoring 80% or higher on the final exam, learners will earn 2 hours of Continuing Respiratory Care Education (CRCE) credit by the American Association for Respiratory Care.

Course Outline:

  1. The equation of motion (simplified)
  2. Taxonomy (simplified)
  3. Choosing a mode of ventilation (based on clinical goals)
  4. Basic ventilator waveform interpretation
  5. Outline of patient ventilator interactions
  6. Post-Test


SEVA-theory teaches 10 fundamental concepts, or maxims, for understanding the design and operation of mechanical ventilators. It also introduces the concepts needed for interpreting ventilator waveforms.

Upon completing Modules 1-12, passing all course quizzes, and scoring 80% or higher on the final exam, learners will earn 8 hours of Continuing Respiratory Care Education (CRCE) credit by the American Association for Respiratory Care.

Click on the “+” below to learn more about each course.

Introduction to Mechanical Ventilation

This module provides an overview of mechanical ventilation. It will describe and classify ventilators and introduce the concept of classifying modes of ventilation. Finally, it will outline a course of study for gaining the skills to appropriately match modes of ventilation to the assessed needs of the patient.


  1. Explain the A.I.M. rubric
  2. Define a ventilator and a mode of ventilation
  3. Give examples of how ventilators are classified in terms of operating principle or application
  4. Describe the skills required to use modes of ventilation appropriately
Maxim 1 - The Breath

This module will introduce the first of the 10 Maxims – The Breath. We will see how a breath is defined and the important mathematical relations related to ventilator settings.


  1. Define the following terms: maxim, mechanical ventilator, inspiratory time, inspiratory flow time, inspiratory pause time, expiratory time, expiratory flow time, expiratory pause time, influence diagram.
  2. Explain how a breath is defined.
  3. Explain in graphical terms how volume and flow are related.
  4. Draw the influence diagram for volume control ventilation along with all the associated equations.


Maxim 2 - The Assisted Breath

This module explains the concept of the assisted breath. When a patient cannot sustain the work of breathing, we use a ventilator to assist.


  1. Explain the difference between assisted, unassisted, and loaded breaths.
  2. Describe how work is calculated for an assisted breath.
  3. Show how we distinguish assisted, unassisted, and loaded breaths by looking at ventilator waveforms.
Maxim 3 - Volume or Pressure Control

In this module, we learn how breaths are assisted with either volume control or pressure control based on a mathematical model of the respiratory system called the equation of motion.


  1. Draw a single compartment model of the lungs and label the components and measurable variables
  2. Write the equations for resistance, compliance, and elastance
  3. Write and explain the equation of motion for a passive patient
  4. Use the equation of motion to define pressure control and volume control modes of ventilation
  5. Draw idealized waveforms for volume and pressure control
  6. Explain what the time constant is
  7. Explain what happens in volume control when elastance or resistance increases
  8. Explain what happens in pressure control when elastance or resistance increases
  9. Write the equation of motion showing the term representing patent inspiratory effort
  10. Explain what happens in volume control when Pmus increases
  11. Explain what happens in pressure control when Pmus increases
Maxim 4 - Trigger and Cycle Events

This module will  examine  the variables used to start (trigger) and end (cycle) inspiration.


  1. Define the terms trigger and cycle
  2. Describe 4 trigger variables
  3. Describe 4 cycle variables
  4. Calculate the inspiratory time based on the set frequency and I:E ratio
  5. Draw a diagram explaining how flow cycling works
  6. Describe what happens to inspiratory time if you increase the flow cycle threshold
  7. Distinguish between the terms sensitivity and trigger/cycle threshold
Maxim 5 - Machine vs. Patient Events

This module will take a look at the difference between machine initiated trigger and cycle events and those initiated by the patient. These are important concepts upon which some important definitions are based as the foundation of a mode classification system.


  1. Define the terms machine triggering and machine cycling
  2. Define the terms patient triggering and patient cycling
  3. List 2 machine trigger variables and 2 machine cycle variables
  4. List 3 patient trigger variables and 3 patient cycle variables
  5. Explain why pressure cycling is a form of patient cycling rather than machine cycling
  6. Explain why flow cycling is form of patient cycling rather than machine cycling
Maxim 6 - Spontaneous vs. Mandatory Breaths

This module will  explore the key concept of spontaneous versus mandatory breaths during mechanical ventilation.


  1. List examples of modes that illustrate every combination of patient and machine triggering and cycling
  2. Define a spontaneous breath
  3. Define a mandatory breath and give examples of trigger and cycle combinations
  4. Explain how the definition of a spontaneous breath relates to the definition of an assisted breath
  5. Explain how the definition of mandatory breath relates to the definition of an assisted breath
Maxim 7 - Breath Sequences

This module describes the possible sequences of mandatory and spontaneous breaths comprising a ventilation mode.


  1. List the 3 breathing sequences and give their definitions
  2. Describe the difference between CMV and IMV in term terms of trigger and synchronization windows
  3. Explain the 4 types of IMV
Maxim 8 - Ventilatory Patterns

This module  introduces the idea that modes can be distinguished by their ventilatory patterns, consisting of the control variable and the breath sequence.


  1. Name the 5 ventilatory patterns
  2. Describe the ventilatory patterns for the following mode names:
    • A/C Volume Control
    • A/C Volume Control Plus
    • BiLevel
    • NAVA
Maxim 9 - Targeting Schemes

In this module, we learn how to distinguish between ventilatory patterns based on their unique feedback control mechanisms, called targeting schemes.


  1. Draw a diagram illustrating the basic feedback control theory used in ventilators
  2. Define the terms target and targeting scheme
  3. Describe the 7 targeting schemes used in mechanical ventilators
  4. Describe the refined rubric for selecting the control variable, as modified by the existence of dual targeting
Maxim 10 - Mode Classification

This module will review the previous nine maxims and show how they form the basis of a system for classifying modes of mechanical ventilation.


  1. Describe the outline format for classifying modes of ventilation using the mode taxonomy
  2. Explain the difference between primary and secondary breaths for IMV modes
  3. Classify standard modes used in the ICU using the complete taxonomy
  4. Show how the concept of “variety” helps distinguish modes with the same tag
How to Read Graphic Displays

This final module will explain the concepts required to interpret ventilator displays showing pressure, volume, and flow waveforms.


  1. Describe the four-step procedure for routine inspection of ventilator graphics
  2. Draw the idealized pressure, volume, and flow waveforms for volume control and pressure control
  3. Explain how improper graphic scaling or leaks will distort waveforms
  4. Draw the pressure waveform for volume control showing work shifting due to the patient’s inspiratory effort
  5. Demonstrate how to identify the presence of autoPEEP
  6. Draw a pressure-volume loop for volume control showing evidence of over-distention
  7. Explain the effects of changes in lung mechanics on pressure, volume, and flow waveforms for both volume control and pressure control