Do obese patients get too much tidal volume?

  • Literature has supported the use of the use of tidal volume of 6-8cc/kg of a patient's ideal body weight (IBW) for intubated patients. Try MDCalc's IBW calculator here.
  • A study from last year reviewed the tidal volume being prescribed to patients in order to evaluate what tidal volume patients were receiving.
  • 1 in 5 patients received an incorrect tidal volume, up to 10cc/kg IBW in some cases! Patients who were overweight or obese had an increased odds of receiving elevated tidal volumes during mechanical ventilation.
  • Bottom line: Remember to calculate and use a patient's IBW when setting the tidal volume on the ventilator.



Goyal, M. et al. Body mass index is associated with inappropriate tidal volumes in adults intubated in the ED. Am J of Emerg Med. 2016 Aug;34(8):1682-3.