Ventilator Waveforms and Loops: A Beginner’s Approach

Author(s): Waters David

Contact Hours 1.25

CERP A 1.25

Expires Mar 31, 2023

Topics: COVID-19, Pulmonary

Level: AdvancedBeginner

Population: Adult

Role: Staff, Educator

Added to Collection

Activity Summary

Required reading for all learners: Implicit Bias impacts patient outcomes

The use of sophisticated modes of mechanical ventilation are in facilities where critical care nurses need to learn ventilator waveform analysis as an integral part of the management of a mechanically ventilated patient. Valuable data includes waveforms and loops to show the follow and pressure or volume associated with gas movement. To assess pulmonary status and lung compliance, nurses should develop a routine of looking at the right waveform including the inspiratory and expiratory components for a particular mode of patient ventilation. The mechanics of normal ventilation and pathophysiology of pulmonary and alveolar failure using real-time patient simulation explores the significance of normal and abnormal waveforms and loops. This interactive session covers patient care considerations and safety issues.


  • Evaluate the role of waveforms and loops associated with ventilation and respiratory failure of the critically ill patient.
  • Outline the components and their clinical significance of normal and abnormal waveforms and loops.
  • List patient care considerations and safety issues associated with monitoring ventilator waveforms and loops.

Continuing Education Disclosure Statement

Successful Completion

Learners must attend/view/read the entire activity and complete the associated evaluation to be awarded the contact hours or CERP. No partial credit will be awarded.


This activity has been reviewed by the Nurse Planner. It has been determined that the material presented here shows no bias. No conflicts of interest have been identified for any individual with the ability to influence the content of this activity. Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing education only and does not imply AACN or ANCC approval or endorsement of any commercial products discussed or displayed in conjunction with this educational activity.


The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC's) Commission on Accreditation, ANCC Provider Number 0012. AACN has been approved as a provider of continuing education in nursing by the California State Board of Nursing (CBRN), California Provider number CEP 1036. This activity is approved for 1.25 contact hours.

AACN programming meets the standards for most states that require mandatory continuing education contact hours for license and/or certification renewal. AACN recommends consulting with your state board of nursing or credentialing organization before submitting CE to fulfill continuing education requirements.