(Guest Post)— In the world of medicine, there are many tools and machines designed to help facilitate the recovery and improve the well-being of patients suffering from crippling diseases, life-threatening injuries, or any other major medical conditions. One of these implements is the medical ventilator, a specific type of equipment that helps a patient breathe when they are unable to on their own. It does this thanks to the medical motor for respiratory equipment that powers it.
In this article, we’ll discuss just what a medical ventilator is, how it works, and the important role it plays in the different areas of medical care.
What is a Medical Ventilator?
As stated above, a medical ventilator is a machine that moves breathable air into the lungs of patients when they are too weak or too sick to breathe on their own. It can also be called a breathing machine or a respirator. There are many models of medical ventilators these days, but a typical ventilator usually has the following traits:
- It is attached to a computer with many mechanisms that allow it to be controlled by a respiratory therapist, nurse, doctor, or other medical staff.
- It has tubes that connect to the patient, i.e. a breathing tube, which connects either through a nasal mask or through an opening made on the patient’s neck via an endotracheal tube. When a nasal mask is used, it is called non-invasive ventilation, while the latter is called invasive ventilation. Invasive ventilation directly accesses the patient’s windpipe or trachea, thus allowing for a more efficient delivery of oxygen
- It has the ability to make noise or alarms that alert the medical staff when something needs to be fixed or attended to.
How does it work?
Medical ventilators are mechanically simple and perform the simple function of breathing for the patient. It does this by using pressure to blow oxygen or a mixture of gases into the patient’s lungs through the breathing tube. This pressure is known as positive pressure.
The ventilator itself can be set to either automatically breathe for the patient a set number of times per minute, usually 12 to 25 breaths per minute. It can also be set so that the patient’s own breathing (or attempt to breathe) can trigger its ventilating process. However, if a set amount of time passes and the patient has yet to make the attempt, it automatically breathes for the patient instead.
What are the benefits of using a medical ventilator?
Besides keeping the patient alive in times of critical illness or weak health, the benefits of a medical ventilator being involved in a patient’s care include:
- Easing the patient’s difficulty in breathing.
- Allowing the patient to breathe normally and help them get relaxed.
- Preserving the patient’s stable airway.
- Allowing the patient’s ongoing treatment and medication to work, thus helping the body heal.
We do note here that the medical ventilator does not heal the patient, but rather helps the patient get the rest they need in order to let the treatment and medications achieve their restorative and curative effects. Thus, the medical ventilator aids the patient’s recovery.
In which areas of medical care does a medical ventilator have an important role?
A medical ventilator plays a very important role in the following branches of health care:
- Intensive care medicine. Intensive care medicine is the branch of health care that is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of life-threatening conditions and diseases. As such, the patients that require intensive care may be in too weak of a condition to breathe properly on their own. A medical ventilator would not only keep the patient alive during this time by helping them breathe, but it would also allow them to remain stable long enough to receive the treatment and recover.
- Home care. Home care involves the patient still requiring treatment due to their disease or condition, but have opted to receive medical care in their home—either due to it being better for their overall recovery or for reasons related to the costs of care. Some patients receiving home care may still be too weak or sick to breathe on their own, and as such, may require a medical ventilator in order to go about their usual activities, as well as to receive the treatment they need. In this way, a medical ventilator is definitely essential.
- Emergency medicine. This branch of health care involves the immediate treatment and stabilization of patients who have suddenly suffered a severe or life-threatening medical condition or injury, such as a heart attack, a stroke, a serious workplace accident, or a road accident. A medical ventilator is important here as the patient concerned may either be unconscious, comatose, or in shock during the time of treatment, making them unable to breathe efficiently and normally. By being mechanically ventilated, they can remain stable as the medical staff performs the procedures necessary to make them stable.
- During major surgical procedures, a patient is usually required to be put to sleep so that the surgery itself can be carried out without issue. This is called employing anesthetics. A medical ventilator in this particular area of medicine has two roles: to allow the patient to inhale the anesthetic substance that would put them to sleep, as well as facilitate regular and uninterrupted breathing once the patient has fallen asleep.
Medical ventilators may not be as exciting or as complicated as other, more sophisticated types of medical equipment, but the important role they play in many branches of medicine makes them an essential part of any medical theater.