The overall goal of the cardiorespiratory system is to provide the organs and tissues of the body with an adequate supply of oxygen in relation to oxygen consumption. An understanding of the complex physiologic interactions between the respiratory and cardiac systems is essential to optimal patient management. Alterations in intrathoracic pressure are transmitted to the heart and lungs and can dramatically alter cardiovascular performance, with significant differences existing between the physiologic response of the right and left ventricles to changes in intrathoracic pressure. In terms of cardiorespiratory interactions, the clinician should titrate the mean airway pressure to optimize the balance between mean lung volume (ie, arterial oxygenation) and ventricular function (ie, global cardiac output), minimize pulmonary vascular resistance, and routinely monitor cardiorespiratory parameters closely. Oxygen delivery to all organs and tissues of the body should be optimized, but not necessarily maximized. The heart and lungs are, obviously, connected anatomically but also physiologically in a complex relationship.