Glossary WebMedical

What is Ventilator?

A ventilator is a device that aids patients in breathing/respiration processes by letting the oxygen into and out of the lungs. Ventilator machine not only helps in breathing but also performs the whole process of breathing for those patients who have lost the ability of breathing or their ability is compromised during surgery. The medical fact about this machine is that it does not cure any disease but only helps in the working of the lungs to keep the patient alive.

Ventilators machines are those devices which enable the living beings to breathe when they cannot do it on their own, or their lungs have failed to function properly. This tube-like machine aids in breathing by transferring oxygen into the lungs and removes carbon dioxide from it.

When it comes to ventilators versus respirators, the latter one only protects from hazardous material while the former enables the patients to breathe, which keeps them alive. Similarly, Ventilators helps patients who are having lung inflammation such as the patients of COVID-19, by aiding them in the breathing process.

When is a Ventilator used for?

Ventilators are used during two situations: firstly, when a patient is having difficulty breathing due to any lungs or trachea inflammation, which is affecting the lungs. Secondly, when the patient is undergoing surgery, to ease the breathing process, ventilator machines are used. So, in short, ventilators are used both from treating patients and lung infections.

For example, newborn babies need ventilators for some time to ease their breathing process and patients recovering from illnesses such as Coronavirus infection. Ventilators are not disposable if they are working correctly, and one ventilator machine can be used on different patients one at a time.

How does Ventilator work?

Ventilator machines work in a way that they get oxygen to the lungs and removes carbon dioxide from them. It has a process called incubation in which a breathing tube is inserted into the lung’s airways either through mouth or nose while the other part of the tube is connected to the ventilator machine.

It uses pressure for pumping oxygenated air into the lungs and similarly needs a negative pressure to pump carbon dioxide out of the lungs. Ventilator machine works on electricity and can also work on batteries. For every patient and for the needed positive and negative pressure, a different ventilator setting is made for the needed oxygen demand.

Types of Ventilators

  • Positive Pressure Ventilation: The positive pressure ventilation increases intrapulmonary pressure as the air is forced into the lungs to airways. The amount of pressure maintains the inflow of air in the lungs.
  • Negative Pressure Ventilation: The negative pressure ventilation works on the stimulating movement of the chest, and the air is sucked into the lungs. In this ventilation, the length of inspiration and the amount of sucking maintains the air pressure.

Risk of being on a Ventilator

Ventilators, while on the one hand, aids in breathing process; however, on the other hand, it can also put patients at risk, such as affecting them due to infections, irritations, effects, vocal cords, or lung injuries. The breathing tube can cause infections in the lung’s airways and can also cause irritation in the throat or lungs.

For example, a ventilator used on a Coronavirus patient if not sterilized/sanitized before using it on another patient can transfer the virus to this patient. The ventilator machine can also affect the voice box, which could cause difficulty in speaking. It can cause lung damage because of abnormal air pressure or can cause oxygen toxicity.

Ventilator machines can also cause skin infections or blood clots. If the pressure system of the ventilator machine and the ventilator settings are not working properly, it can cause problems in breathing, which can lead to serious illness.

Martin Adler

Martin Adler is a Computer Engineer and an accomplished writer with a passion for inspiring everyone with exciting technologies. He loves to explore technical terms and try to deliver something worth reading.