Sunday, May 22, 2022

What Are Ventilators & How Do They Work?

Ventilators are machines that help to breathe for patients who can’t do it on their own. They work by delivering fresh air into the lungs and removing carbon dioxide, which is a waste product of breathing. This article will explore the basics of what are ventilators and how they work. The ventilator is an external life supporter which provides ventilation mechanically for the person who is physically unable to breathe or barely breathing due to an injury or an illness resulting in respiratory failure or to support the anesthetized patient during surgery. It is termed a Mechanical Ventilator, breathing machine, or respirator.

What Are Ventilators & How Do They Work?
What Are Ventilators & How Do They Work? Image source: Wired

Respiration is inhaling unpolluted oxygen-rich air into the lungs and exhaling Carbon dioxide out of the lungs, when this function is disrupted because of collapsed airways or food stuck in or blocking the windpipe or weakness caused by stroke leads to emergency medical care.

In this medical condition, the patients are moved to the intensive care unit (ICU) where their respiratory system denies cooperation to maintain oxygen levels in the blood at that time these ventilators turn out to be lifesavers by delivering highly oxygenated air through constricted airways to help impaired lungs diffuse more oxygen inside the alveoli within the lungs into the erythrocytes and blood plasma resulting in a rise in blood oxygen levels.

In a mechanical ventilator, four main components play a key role in functioning they are controls, monitors, safety features, and power input. Power input keeps the machine running and maintains the gas flow to the patient.

Controls to operate the machine functioning like gas accumulators, gas blenders, humidifiers, flow regulators, and pressure regulators. Monitors to sense and present the features of the gas delivery. Safety features include alarms to alert the attending staff if the machine losses power or the pressure level drops, for power series of backup batteries are equipped to the ventilator.

What are ventilators and Types of Ventilators: –

Positive airway pressure ventilator: The positive pressure allows the air into the airway of the lungs by increased airway pressure through an endotracheal or tracheostomy tube. The patients who require a ventilator while sleeping and resting need a nasal mask.

Negative airway pressure ventilator: The negative pressure allows the air to be withdrawn mechanically to induce a vacuum inside the tank, thus created negative pressure makes the chest expand and contract leads to a decrease in intra-pulmonary pressure.

Ventilation is provided by a non-invasive or invasive method where the non-invasive method meant providing ventilatory support through the patient’s upper airway by a mask or similar device, invasive method meant providing ventilatory support through the insertion of a tube into the windpipe through the mouth or nose.

Ventilators are further classified based on the mode of use they are transport ventilators used in ambulances, neonatal ventilators used for neonates, intensive care ventilators used in ICU. Mechanical ventilators played a crucial role in saving lives from the 20th century Polio break down to the current 21st century Covid-19 break down.

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