What Is a Ventilator?
A ventilator, also known as a respirator, mechanical ventilator or breathing machine, is a medical device that supplies oxygen to a patient when they are unable to breathe on their own. The ventilator gently pushes the air into the lungs and allows it to breathe as the lungs do.
When do you need a ventilator?
- If you have general anesthesia during surgery, you may be connected to the ventilator. Drugs used to induce anesthesia can destroy normal breathing. The ventilator helps ensure that you continue to breathe during surgery.
After the operation, you may not even know that you are connected to the ventilator. The only sign may be a slight sore throat in a short time. A sore throat is caused by a catheter that connects the ventilator to the respiratory tract. Once the anesthesia disappears and you start breathing yourself, the ventilator will disconnect. The tube in the throat was also taken out. This usually happens before you wake up completely from surgery. However, depending on the type of surgery you have, you may be using the ventilator for hours to days after surgery. Most people who have anesthesia during surgery only need a ventilator for a short time, though.
- For lung function damage, many diseases, conditions, and factors affect lung function. Although you can breathe yourself, it is very difficult to work. You may feel difficulty breathing and uncomfortable. The ventilator can relieve breathing work to help you breathe until you recover. If you can’t breathe on your own, you may need a ventilator to help you spend the rest of your life.
How does the ventilator work?
The ventilator is connected to a person (intratracheal or ET tube) through a tube into the oral cavity or nasal cavity and then into the trachea, and pressure is applied to blow air or a mixed gas such as oxygen and air into the respiratory tract, and to the lungs to serve as an airway.
When a healthcare provider places an ET tube into a person’s trachea, it is called intubation. The ventilator can provide a higher level of oxygen than a mask or other device.
The ventilator can also provide a so-called ventilator positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP), which helps keep the lungs open and the airbag does not collapse.