A ventilator is a device that supports or recreates the process of breathing by pumping air into the lungs. Sometimes, people refer to it as a vent or breathing machine.

Doctors use ventilators if a person cannot breathe adequately on their own. This may be because they are undergoing general anesthesia or have an illness that affects their breathing.

There are different types of ventilator, and each provides varying levels of support. The type a doctor uses will depend on a person’s condition.

Ventilators play an important role in saving lives, in both hospitals and ambulances. People who require long-term ventilation can also use them at home.
Who needs a ventilator?

People require ventilation if they are experiencing respiratory failure. When this occurs, a person cannot get enough oxygen and may not be able to expel carbon dioxide very well either. It can be a life threatening condition.
Face mask ventilators are noninvasive, while mechanical and Breathing Apparatus ventilators are invasive and work via tubes that a doctor inserts through a hole in the neck that leads to the trachea, or windpipe. Healthcare professionals term this Breathing Apparatus

For some, a face mask ventilator may be sufficient to stabilize their condition. People who physically struggle to breathe independently may require mechanical ventilation.

Below, we look at each type of ventilator and how they work.
Face mask ventilator

A face mask ventilator is a noninvasive method of supporting a person’s breathing and oxygen levels. To use one, a person wears a mask that fits over the nose and mouth while air blows into their airways and lungs.

People with COVID-19 may use a face mask ventilator if they are having difficulty breathing or do not have sufficient oxygen levels.

Continuous positive airway pressure and bi-level positive airway pressure devices also operate via a face mask.

People often use these for chronic conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but some doctors may also use Trusted Source them for people with COVID-19.

In addition to supporting oxygen levels, PAP therapy can also aid in expelling carbon dioxide levels. Whether a doctor decides to use will depend on a person’s underlying condition.
Mechanical ventilator

Mechanical ventilators are machines that take over the breathing process entirely. Doctors use these when a person cannot breathe on their own.

Mechanical ventilators work via a tube in a person’s throat, pumping air into the lungs and transporting carbon dioxide away.

A ventilator unit regulates the pressure, humidity, volume, and temperature of the air, depending on the controls that a doctor or respiratory therapist places. This allows healthcare professionals to control a person’s breathing and oxygen levels.

People with COVID-19 may need a mechanical ventilator if they are critically ill.
Manual resuscitator bags

Manual resuscitator bags are pieces of equipment that allow people to control the airflow of their ventilator with their hands. These devices consist of an empty bag, or “bladder,” that a person squeezes to pump air into the lungs.

A person can attach one of these devices to a face mask ventilator, or, if they are in Breathing Apparatus, a doctor can attach one to the tube in their throat.

This can be useful as a temporary solution if a person on a mechanical ventilator needs to stop using it. For example, if there is a power outage, a person can use a manual resuscitator bag while waiting for the power to come back on.

People who have undergone a will require a ventilator.

A is a procedure where a doctor creates an opening in the windpipe and inserts a tube, which allows air to flow in and out. This enables a person to breathe without using their nose or mouth.

People who have undergone can also receive ventilator support through this opening. Instead of inserting a ventilator through the mouth, doctors insert it directly into the windpipe.

People may require if they need mechanical ventilation for an extended period of time and need more time for rehabilitation.

Others may require Breathing Apparatus long term if they have conditions such as chronic lung disease or a Breathing Apparatus disorder that weakens the breathing muscles. Some individuals can manage their own Breathing Apparatus at home.
Risks of using ventilators

As with many medical procedures, ventilation involves some risks, particularly mechanical ventilation. The longer a person requires mechanical ventilation, the higher the risks.

Potential complications of using a ventilator Breathing Apparatus Source:

Healthcare workers treating people with COVID-19 have an increased Breathing Apparatus Source of coming into contact with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the disease, during Breathing Apparatus.

Doctors and nurses can take steps to reduce the likelihood of these complications. The steps include:

Weaning off a ventilator

When a person seems ready to come off a mechanical ventilator, doctors first have to ensure the person can breathe independently. They do this via weaning, which involves gradually removing ventilator support.

When the support level is low enough, a doctor will try a spontaneous breathing trial, which determines whether a person can breathe with little or no support. If the trial is successful, the doctor will remove the breathing tube.

Many Trusted Source people who use ventilators for a short period can breathe on their own the first time doctors try weaning. In these cases, doctors may disconnect the ventilator straight away.

However, others need more gradual weaning. This is especially true if a person received mechanical ventilator support for a long time, as the muscles they would normally use for breathing may have weakened while not in regular use.

After weaning off ventilation, a person may notice that their throat feels dry and uncomfortable or that their voice is somewhat hoarse. This is normal and often improves with time.

However, if a person has any breathing difficulties after weaning, or if they experience persistent hoarseness, they should contact a doctor.

Ventilators are devices that support a person’s breathing if they are experiencing respiratory failure.

There are different types of ventilator, including noninvasive and invasive, that provide varying degrees of support. Demand for ventilators has increased due to COVID-19.

It can take time to recover from being on a ventilator. Serious illness can impact physical and mental health. People experiencing persistent symptoms after weaning off ventilator support should seek guidance from a doctor.
he Breathing Apparatus procedure will vary depending on its purpose and whether it occurs in an operating room or an emergency situation.

In the operating room or another controlled setting, a doctor will typically sedate the person using an anesthetic. The doctor will then insert an instrument called a Breathing Apparatus into the person’s mouth to aid insertion of the flexible tubing.

The doctor uses the Breathing Apparatus to locate sensitive tissues, such as the vocal cords, and avoid damaging them. If the doctor is having trouble seeing, they may insert a tiny camera to help guide them.

In the operating room, doctors usually use Breathing Apparatus to help a person breathe while they are under anesthetic.

Once they have inserted the tube, a doctor will listen to the person’s breathing to make sure the tube is in the correct spot. A doctor typically attaches the tube to a ventilator.

When the person no longer has difficulty breathing, the doctor will remove the tube from the person’s throat.

In emergencies, a healthcare provider may need to perform Breathing Apparatus to save a person’s life. It can be a very useful procedure to assist with airway management and has been a beneficial tool during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emergency Breathing Apparatus can be a risky procedure that often requires a clear plan, imaging scans to guide placing the tube, and team member role allocation to ensure safe and effective Breathing Apparatus and help avoid potential adverse events
n its simplest form, a modern positive pressure ventilator, consists of a compressible air reservoir or turbine, air and oxygen supplies, a set of valves and tubes, and a disposable or reusable “patient circuit”. The air reservoir is pneumatically compressed several times a minute to deliver room-air, or in most cases, an air/oxygen mixture to the patient. If a turbine is used, the turbine pushes air through the ventilator, with a flow valve adjusting pressure to meet patient-specific parameters. When over pressure is released, the patient will exhale passively due to the lungs’ elasticity, the exhaled air being released usually through a one-way valve within the patient circuit called the patient manifold.

Ventilators may also be equipped with monitoring and alarm systems for patient-related parameters (e.g., pressure, volume, and flow) and ventilator function (e.g., air leakage, power failure, mechanical failure), backup batteries, oxygen tanks, and remote control. The pneumatic system is nowadays often replaced by a computer-controlled Breathing Apparatus

Modern ventilators are electronically controlled by a small embedded system to allow exact adaptation of pressure and flow characteristics to an individual patient’s needs. Fine-tuned ventilator settings also serve to make ventilation more tolerable and comfortable for the patient. In Canada and the United States, respiratory therapists are responsible for tuning these settings, while biomedical technologists are responsible for the maintenance. In the United Kingdom and Europe the management of the patient’s interaction with the ventilator is done by critical care nurses.

The patient circuit usually consists of a set of three durable, yet lightweight plastic tubes, separated by function (e.g. inhaled air, patient pressure, exhaled air). Determined by the type of ventilation needed, the patient-end of the circuit may be either noninvasive or invasive.

Noninvasive methods, such as continuous positive airway pressure Breathing Apparatus and non-invasive ventilation, which are adequate for patients who require a ventilator only while sleeping and resting, mainly employ a nasal mask. Invasive methods require Breathing Apparatus, which for long-term ventilator dependence will normally be a tracheotomy Breathing Apparatus as this is much more comfortable and practical for long-term care than is larynx or nasal Breathing Apparatus
Life-critical system

As failure may result in death, mechanical ventilation systems are classified as life-critical systems, and precautions must be taken to ensure that they are highly reliable, including their power supply. Ventilatory failure is the inability to sustain a sufficient rate of CO2 elimination to maintain a stable pH without mechanical assistance, muscle fatigue, or intolerable Breathing Apparatus Mechanical ventilators are therefore carefully designed so that no single point of failure can endanger the patient. They may have manual backup mechanisms to enable hand-driven respiration in the absence of power (such as the mechanical ventilator integrated into an Breathing Apparatus. They may also have safety valves, which open to atmosphere in the absence of power to act as an anti-suffocation valve for spontaneous breathing of the patient. Some systems are also equipped with compressed-gas tanks, air compressors or backup batteries to provide ventilation in case of power failure or defective gas supplies, and methods to operate or call for help if their mechanisms or software fail.[3] Power failures, such as during a natural disaster, can create a life-threatening emergency for people using ventilators in a home care setting.[4] Battery power may be sufficient for a brief loss of electricity, but longer power outages may require going to a hospital.[4]

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The history of mechanical ventilation begins with various versions of what was eventually called the iron lung, a form of noninvasive negative-pressure ventilator widely used during the polio epidemics of the twentieth century after the introduction of the “Drinker respirator” in 1928, improvements introduced by John Haven Emerson in 1931,[5] and the Both respirator in 1937. Other forms of noninvasive ventilators, also used widely for polio patients, include Breathing Apparatus Ventilation, the rocking bed, and rather primitive positive pressure machines.[5]

In 1949, John Haven Emerson developed a mechanical Breathing Apparatus for Breathing Apparatus with the cooperation of the Breathing Apparatus department at Harvard University. Mechanical ventilators began to be used increasingly in Breathing Apparatus and intensive care during the 1950s. Their development was stimulated both by the need to treat polio patients and the increasing use of muscle relaxants during Breathing Apparatus Relaxant drugs Breathing Apparatus the patient and improve operating conditions for the surgeon but also the respiratory muscles. In Breathing Apparatus Ibsen set up what became the world’s first Medical/Surgical ICU utilizing muscle relaxants and controlled ventilation.[6]
A machine with hoses and gauges on a wheeled cart
An East-Radcliffe respirator model from the mid-twentieth century

In the United Kingdom, the East Radcliffe and Beaver models were early examples. The former used a Breathing Apparatus bicycle hub gear to provide a range of speeds, and the latter an automotive windscreen wiper motor to drive the bellows used to inflate the lungs.[7] Electric motors were, however, a problem in the operating Breathing Apparatus of that time, as their use caused an explosion hazard in the presence of flammable Breathing Apparatus such as ether and Breathing Apparatus. In 1952, Roger Manley of the Westminster Hospital, London, developed a ventilator which was entirely gas-driven and became the most popular model used in Europe. It was an elegant design, and became a great favourite with European Breathing Apparatus for four decades, prior to the introduction of models controlled by electronics. It was independent of electrical power and caused no explosion hazard. The original Mark I unit was developed to become the Manley Mark II in collaboration with the Breathing Apparatus company, which manufactured many thousands of these units. Its principle of operation was very simple, an incoming gas flow was used to lift a weighted bellows unit, which fell intermittently under gravity, forcing breathing gases into the patient’s lungs. The inflation pressure could be varied by sliding the movable weight on top of the bellows. The volume of gas delivered was adjustable using a curved slider, which restricted bellows excursion. Residual pressure after the completion of expiration was also configurable, using a small weighted arm visible to the lower right of the front panel. This was a robust unit and its availability encouraged the introduction of positive pressure ventilation techniques into mainstream European anesthetic practice.

The 1955 release of Forrest Bird’s “Bird Universal Medical Respirator” in the United States changed the way mechanical ventilation was performed, with the small green box becoming a familiar piece of medical equipment.[8] The unit was sold as the Bird Mark 7 Respirator and informally called the “Bird”. It was a pneumatic device and therefore required no electrical power source to operate.

In 1965, the Army Emergency Respirator was developed in collaboration with the Harry Diamond Laboratories (now part of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory) and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Its design incorporated the principle of fluid amplification in order to govern pneumatic functions. Fluid amplification allowed the respirator to be manufactured entirely without moving parts, yet capable of complex resuscitative functions.[9] Elimination of moving parts increased performance reliability and minimized maintenance.[10] The mask is composed of a poly(methyl (commercially known as Lucite) block, about the size of a pack of cards, with machined channels and a cemented or screwed-in cover plate.[11] The reduction of moving parts cut manufacturing costs and increased durability.[10]

The Breathing Apparatus fluid amplifier design allowed the respirator to function as both a respiratory Breathing Apparatus and controller. It could functionally transition between Breathing Apparatus and controller automatically, based on the patient’s needs.[11][10] The dynamic pressure and turbulent jet flow of gas from inhalation to exhalation allowed the respirator to synchronize with the breathing of the patient.[12]

Intensive care environments around the world revolutionized in by the introduction of the first SERVO 900 ventilator constructed by Breathing Apparatus Jonson. It was a small, silent and effective electronic ventilator, with the famous SERVO feedback system controlling what had been set and regulating delivery. For the first time, the machine could deliver the set volume in volume control ventilation.

Ventilators used under increased pressure Breathing Apparatus require special precautions, and few ventilators can operate under these conditions. Industries introduced their Model 500A ventilator, which was specifically designed for use with Breathing Apparatus chamber
Microprocessor ventilators

Microprocessor control led to the third generation of intensive care unit (ICU) ventilators, starting with the in Germany which allowed monitoring the patient’s breathing curve on an LCD monitor. One year later followed Puritan Bennett 7200 and Bear 1000, SERVO 300 and Hamilton over the next decade. Microprocessors enable customized gas delivery and monitoring, and mechanisms for gas delivery that are much more responsive to patient needs than previous generations of mechanical ventilators.[16]
Open-source ventilators
Main article: Open-source ventilator

An open-source ventilator is a disaster-situation ventilator made using a freely-licensed design, and ideally, freely-available components and parts. Designs, components, and parts may be anywhere from completely reverse-engineered to completely new creations, components may be adaptations of various inexpensive existing products, and special hard-to-find and/or expensive parts may be 3D printed instead of sourced.[17][18]

During the 2019–2020 COVID-19 pandemic, various kinds of ventilators have been considered. Deaths caused by COVID-19 have occurred when the most severely infected experience acute respiratory distress syndrome, a widespread inflammation in the lungs that impairs the lungs’ ability to absorb oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. These patients require a capable ventilator to continue breathing.

Among ventilators that might be brought into the COVID-fight, there have been many concerns. These include current availability, the challenge of making more and lower cost ventilators,effectiveness functional design, safety, portability suitability for infants, assignment to treat other illnesses and operator training.[28] Deploying the best possible mix of ventilators can save the most lives.

Although not formally open-sourced, the Pro ventilator was developed in April 2020 as a shared effort between Life Systems and General Motors, to provide a rapid supply of 30,000 ventilators capable of treating COVID-19 patients.[29][30]

A major worldwide design effort began during the 2019-2020 coronavirus pandemic after aproject was started,[31][non-primary source needed] in order to respond to expected ventilator shortages causing higher mortality rate among severe patients.

On March 20, 2020, the Irish Health Service[32] began reviewing designs.[33] A prototype is being designed and tested in Colombia.[34]

The Polish company Urbicum reports successful testing[35] of a 3D-printed open-source prototype device called VentilAid. The makers describe it as a last resort device when professional equipment is missing. The design is publicly available.[36] The first Ventilaid prototype requires compressed air to run.

On March 21, 2020, the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) began maintaining a strategic list of open source designs being worked on.[37][38] The NECSI project considers manufacturing capability, medical safety and need for treating patients in various conditions, speed dealing with legal and political issues, logistics and supply.[39] NECSI is staffed with scientists from Harvard and MIT and others who have an understanding of pandemics, medicine, systems, risk, and data collection.[39]

The University of Minnesota Bakken Medical Device Center initiated a collaboration with various companies to bring a ventilator alternative to the market that works as a one-armed robot and replaces the need for manual ventilation in emergency situations. The Coventor device was developed in a very short time and approved on April 15, 2020, by the FDA, only 30 days after conception. The mechanical ventilator is designed for use by trained medical professionals in intensive care units and easy to operate. It has a compact design and is relatively inexpensive to manufacture and distribute. The cost is only about 4% of a normal ventilator. In addition, this device does not require pressurized oxygen or air supply, as is normally the case. A first series is manufactured by Boston Scientific. The plans are to be freely available online to the general public without royalties.[40][41]
COVID-19 pandemic
See also: List of countries by hospital beds § 2020 coronavirus pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to shortages of essential goods and services – from hand sanitizers to masks to beds to ventilators.[citation needed] Countries around the world have experienced shortages of ventilators.[42] Furthermore, fifty-four governments, including many in Europe and Asia, imposed restrictions on medical supply exports in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The capacities to produce and distribute invasive and non-invasive ventilators vary by country. In the initial phase of the pandemic, China ramped up its production of ventilators, secured large amounts of donations from private firms, and dramatically increased imports of medical devices worldwide. As a result, the country accumulated a reservoir of ventilators throughout the pandemic in Wuhan. Western Europe and the United States, which outrank China in their production capacities, suffered a shortage of supplies due to the sudden and scattered outbreaks throughout the North American and European continents. Finally, Central Asia, Africa, and Latin America, which depend almost entirely on importing ventilators, suffered severe shortages of supplies.[citation needed]

Healthcare policy-makers have met serious challenges to estimate the number of ventilators needed and used during the pandemic. When data is often not available for ventilators specifically, estimates are sometimes made based on the number of intensive care unit beds available, which often contain ventilators.
United States

In 2006, president George W. Bush signed the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, which created the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) within the United States Department of Health and Human Services. In preparation for a possible epidemic of respiratory disease, the newly created office awarded a $6 million contract to Newport Medical Instruments, a small company in California, to make 40,000 ventilators for under $3,000 apiece. In 2011, Newport sent three prototypes to the Centers for Disease Control. Breathing Apparatus manufacturer, which manufactured more expensive competing ventilators, bought Newport for Breathing Apparatus delayed and in 2014 cancelled the contract.

Breathing Apparatus started over again with a new company, Philips, and in July 2019, the FDA approved the Philips ventilator, and the government ordered 10,000 ventilators for delivery in mid

, NASA reported building, in 37 days, a successful COVID-19 ventilator, named VITAL (“Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally”). On April 30, NASA reported receiving fast-track approval for emergency use by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the new ventilator , NASA reported that eight manufacturers were selected to manufacture the new ventilator
What is mechanical ventilation?

Mechanical ventilation is a form of life support that helps you breathe (ventilate) when you can’t breathe on your own. This can be during surgery or when you’re very sick.

While mechanical ventilation doesn’t directly treat illnesses, it can stabilize you while other treatments and medications help your body recover.
What is a ventilator?

A ventilator is a machine that helps you breathe. Just like crutches support your weight, the ventilator partially or completely supports your lung functions. A ventilator:

Providers can adjust the settings on the machine to meet your specific needs.
What’s the difference between mechanical ventilation and intubation?

Intubation and mechanical ventilation often happen together, but they’re not the same. When a provider intubates, they put a tube down your throat into your airway (trachea). Then, a provider will connect the tube in your throat to a ventilator. Sometimes a face mask connects you to the ventilator and you don’t have to be intubated.
What are the types of mechanical ventilation?

Modern mechanical ventilators use positive pressure to push air into your lungs. Positive pressure ventilation can be invasive or noninvasive.

Why are mechanical ventilators used?

Providers use mechanical ventilators to support your breathing when you can’t breathe on your own. Mechanical ventilation:

Who needs to have mechanical ventilation?

You might need mechanical respiration:

Specific conditions that might require you to have mechanical ventilation include
How long can you be kept on a ventilator?

The length of time you need mechanical ventilation depends on the reason. It could be hours, days, weeks, or — rarely — months or years. Ideally, you’ll only stay on a ventilator for as little time as possible. Your providers will test your ability to breathe unassisted daily or more often.

In general, if you need to be on a ventilator for a long time (2 weeks or so), a provider will switch you from an endotracheal tube to a tube in your neck Breathing Apparatus.

Suctioning is important for keeping your airways clear. A provider will insert a catheter (a thin tube) into the breathing tube to help remove mucus (secretions). It might make you cough or gag. Loved ones may find it uncomfortable to watch.

Your provider might give you Breathing Apparatus(spray) medications through your breathing tube. These medications work best when you breathe them directly into your airways or lungs. Your provider will also give you medication into your veins through an IV.

You can’t eat or drink normally while you’re on a ventilator and Breathing Apparatus. Your provider will give you liquid nutrition, usually through a tube that goes through your nose and into your stomach. They’ll give you fluids through an IV in a vein.

Your providers will sit you up regularly. They may get you up and walking sometimes.

Providers use Breathing Apparatus to look at the airways in your lungs. They insert a small, lighted camera through the breathing tube and into your lungs. Sometimes they’ll take samples of mucus or tissue for testing.
Who takes care of you when you’re on a ventilator?

Providers treat you in the intensive care unit (ICU) when you need mechanical ventilation. They can closely monitor you there. All providers in the ICU are specially trained to care for people who need mechanical ventilation. Providers who might care for you include:

Are you awake while you’re on a ventilator?

While you’re on a ventilator, your provider will try to keep you as awake as possible while ensuring you’re calm and comfortable. They’ll use medications as needed to keep you relaxed. It’s not uncommon for you to be awake (conscious), but you might feel sleepy, confused or not fully aware of what’s happening.

Sometimes, depending on how sick you are, your provider may need to keep you deeply sedated (asleep) so you’re not aware and your body can recover. Your arms might be restrained to prevent you from hurting yourself by pulling on the tube.
What happens when you come off of mechanical ventilation?

Providers will perform tests to see if you can breathe on your own before taking you off the ventilator. The ET tube stays in place for these tests. When your condition has improved and you can breathe on your own, your provider will remove the ET tube to take you off of mechanical ventilation.

You might have a sore throat or mouth, or your voice may be hoarse after your provider removes the ET tube.

After removing the tube (called extubation) your provider may place you on other devices to help you breathe. These include noninvasive ventilation (with a mask) or oxygen masks. Sometimes a provider may have to intubate you again and put you back on mechanical ventilation.
What are the advantages of mechanical ventilation?

Benefits of mechanical ventilation include:

What are the risks of mechanical ventilation?

Providers take steps to avoid complications of mechanical ventilation. However, there can still be some risks, including:

Bacterial infections. The tube in your airways can bring bacteria into your lungs, causing infections like ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). This is treated with antibiotics.
Lung damage. The pressure from the ventilator can damage your lungs.
Collapsed lung. If part of your lung is weak, it might develop a hole, causing your lung to collapse (pneumothorax).
Heart and blood flow changes. Being on a ventilator can affect how your heart works. If your heart doesn’t work as well, it can decrease your blood pressure or raise your heart rate. These changes can also mean less oxygen gets to your blood (decreased perfusion), even though plenty is getting into your lungs.
Sometimes, people aren’t able to come off a ventilator. If you need to be on a ventilator for a long time, a provider will remove the tube from your mouth. They’ll insert a tube through a small cut (incision) in your neck.
Prolonging the dying process. If someone is unlikely to recover from their condition, putting them on mechanical ventilation may prevent the dying process. This can cause unnecessary suffering. Your provider will guide you in making decisions about mechanical ventilation in this case.

How long does it take to recover from mechanical ventilation?

How long it takes to recover from mechanical ventilation depends on why you needed it and how long you were on it. Your provider can tell you what to expect and how to take care of yourself while you recover.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Mechanical ventilation can save your life in an emergency or if you get very sick and can’t breathe on your own. It’s not meant to treat conditions, but it can give your body the time it needs to get better. In cases of very serious or worsening illness, some people may not be able to breathe on their own again.

Regardless of your health, make sure your provider and your family know your wishes for your medical care. Having discussions about your goals and setting up advanced directives and healthcare power of attorney is an important step. This can help your loved ones if they need to make decisions on your behalf.

What is a breathing machine (mechanical ventilator) and what does it do?

Breathing machine Some patients need help to breathe. In this situation a “breathing machine” – also known as a mechanical ventilator – is used to assist the function of the lungs.

Mechanical ventilators are complex machines that can be adjusted to meet the needs of each patient.

You may be put on a mechanical ventilator, also known as a breathing machine, if a condition makes it very difficult for you to breathe or get enough oxygen into your blood. This condition is called respiratory failure. Mechanical ventilators are machines that act as bellows to move air in and out of your lungs. Your respiratory therapist and doctor set the ventilator to control how often it pushes air into your lungs and how much air you get.

You may be fitted with a mask to get air from the ventilator into your lungs. Or you may need a breathing tube if your breathing problem is more serious. When you’re ready to be taken off the ventilator, your healthcare team will “wean” you or decrease the ventilator support until you can start breathing on your own.

Mechanical ventilators are mainly used in hospitals and in transport systems such as ambulances and MEDEVAC air transport etc. In some cases, they can be used at home, if the illness is long term and the caregivers at home receive training and have adequate nursing and other resources in the home. Being on a ventilator may make you more susceptible to pneumonia, damage to your vocal cords, or other risks or problems.

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