Ventilator Alarms serve a very important purpose because they alert the Respiratory Therapist or medical professional whenever an issue is present.

This guide breaks down all of the ventilator alarms to hopefully make the learning process easier for you. So if you’re ready, let’s get started.

What is a Ventilator Alarm?

A Ventilator Alarm is a safety mechanism on the mechanical ventilator that uses a set of parameters to provide alerts whenever there is a potential problem related to the patient-ventilator interaction.

The alarms can be visual, audible, or both, depending on the ventilator setting and the patient’s condition. In order to learn each of the different ventilator alarms, you must develop an understanding of the Ventilator Settings and Modes.

Types of Ventilator Alarms:

The following are examples of the common alarms that are typically programmed into most mechanical ventilator machines:

  • High Pressure
  • Low Pressure
  • High Volume
  • Low Volume
  • High Frequency
  • Apnea
  • High PEEP
  • Low PEEP

Keep in mind that certain machines may include other types of ventilator alarms within their settings. These are just some of the most common examples. Please check with the manufacturer for a full list of each alarm for the ventilator that you’re interested in.

Note: A detailed breakdown of each type of alarm will be added soon. Thank you for your patience.

Final Thoughts

As a Respiratory Therapist or someone who works in critical care, it’s extremely important to familiarize yourself with each of the types of Ventilator Alarms.

Because, if you don’t, how will you know what’s going on with your patient?

Hopefully, you will be able to reference this guide to make the learning process much easier. Thank you so much for reading and as always, breathe easy my friend.


The following are the sources that were used while doing research for this article:

  • Faarc, Kacmarek Robert PhD Rrt, et al. Egan’s Fundamentals of Respiratory Care. 12th ed., Mosby, 2020. [Link]
  • Chang, David. Clinical Application of Mechanical Ventilation. 4th ed., Cengage Learning, 2013. [Link]
  • Rrt, Cairo J. PhD. Pilbeam’s Mechanical Ventilation: Physiological and Clinical Applications. 7th ed., Mosby, 2019. [Link]
  • “Ventilator Safety.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 10 Aug. 2020,
  • Scott, Brady. “Mechanical Ventilation Alarms and Alarm Fatigue.” PubMed, Oct. 2019,
  • Cvach, Maria. “Ventilator Alarms in Intensive Care Units: Frequency, Duration, Priority, and Relationship to Ventilator Parameters.” PubMed, Jan. 2020,

Disclosure: The links to the textbooks are affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.