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Ventilators and How They Work?

  • June 01, 2020
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Ventilators and How They Work?

The severity of COVID-19 crisis has denied timely treatment to many patients at hospitals owing to a shortage of ventilators. Why patients with COVID-19 may require ventilators and how do ventilators help them recover?

COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory disease that can cause pneumonia. In more severe cases, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) may result in a build-up of fluids in the tiny air sacs of the lungs. This causes shortness of breath and people may require a ventilator to help them recover.

Ventilator is a form of life support. A mechanical ventilator is a machine that takes over the work of breathing when a person is not able to breathe enough. A patient may need a ventilator when their oxygen levels are low.

Ventilators mainly:

  • Deliver high concentrations of oxygen into lungs
  • Help get rid of carbon dioxide

Ventilation is generally of invasive type, performed in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a hospital. An endotracheal tube (ET), is inserted into the patient's airway, and the setting is connected to a monitor that displays heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation.

A ventilator only helps support a person until other treatments become effective. It can be lifesaving but has risks. The high air pressure can damage the lungs. Doctors try to keep this risk at a minimum by using the lowest amount of pressure that is needed.

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, manufacturers are boosting production of ventilators trying to meet the surging demand, on a war footing. There is also hope for better medical care with new technologies that allow telemonitoring of ventilators by doctors, while patients use ventilators at their homes!

Developed by Scientific Angle brought to you by Health Meter Services

Disclaimer: Don’t follow any suggestions in this article without consulting a qualified doctor

Sources:

  1. ‘Coronavirus: What Happens When You Get Infected?’ WebMD. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/lung/coronavirus-covid-19-affects-body#1.
  2. ‘Mechanical Ventilation.’ Patient Education, Information Series. American Thoracic Society. Available at: https://www.thoracic.org/patients/patient-resources/resources/mechanical-ventilation.pdf.
  3. ‘What Are the Different Types of Mechanical Ventilation?’ MedicineNet. Available at: https://www.medicinenet.com/different_types_of_mechanical_ventilation/article.htm.
  4. ‘ResMed:Providing remote care for long-term ventilator users.’ Verdict Medical Devices. Available at: https://www.medicaldevice-network.com/features/remote-care-for-long-term-ventilator-users/.