Mechanical Ventilation A Guide and Overview

Mechanical Ventilation. In the terms of the common man – Ventilator.

Sadly, popular belief  says this term is associated with death. Often, when people see or hear the words Mechanical Ventilation together, all that comes to their mind is the worst possible situation for a person, that he or she is on their deathbed.

This is a highly common misconception among most of the people nowadays. It is totally incorrect to assume that just because a person needs assistance in breathing, they are living their last days of life.

Mechanical Ventilation is the medical term for the machine or artificial breathing which replaces or assists in spontaneous breathing through mechanical ways.

Usually, mechanical ventilation is a non-invasive machine but it can be invasive if any instrument is penetration through the skin or the mouth.

mechanical ventillator

There are mainly two types of mechanical ventilation:

  • Positive Pressure Ventilation: This type of  mechanical ventilation is where air or any other gas mixture is pushed into the trachea of the person.
  • Negative Pressure Ventilation: This type of mechanical ventilation is where air is pushed into the lungs.

Why are ventilators used?

Ventilators are mainly used to various reasons and it differs with regard to the patient and their situation.

  • To assist in getting oxygen to the body.
  • To assist the body in getting rid of carbon dioxide through the lungs.
  • To ease the process of breathing for people who find it hard to breathe as they fall short of breath.
  • To completely breathe for a person who is not capable of breathing because of a severe injury to the nervous system like the brain or spinal cord or if a person has extremely weak muscles.

Who needs a Ventilator?

The most common situations a ventilator is used when:

  • During a surgery if a person is given a general anaesthesia
  • If a disease or medical condition disrupts the normal functioning of the lung.

During a Surgery:

When a patient is given general anaesthesia during a surgery, he or she is put on the mechanical ventilator as the medicines used to induce the general anaesthesia can disrupt the normal process of breathing. Hence to ensure continuous breathing, the ventilator is used.

The patient wouldn’t know that he was assisted by the ventilator unless they are told and might also feel some discomfort and sore throat post the surgery as the tube of the ventilator is connected to the air pipe.

Lung Infection:

A mechanical ventilator is also used if there is a condition present in the lung of the patient due to a particular disease in the body and that has affected the normal breathing of the patient. Patients

often fall short of breath and become too weak to continue breathing. In that case a ventilator comes into play by helping the patient breathe without excessive exertion.

Some of the diseases which can affect lung function are:

  • Pneumonia
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or other lung infections
  • Upper Spinal Cord injuries
  • Polio
  • Brain Injury or Stroke
  • Drug Overdose.

Home mechanical ventilation is also very common in patients when the patient is in a balanced state, he or she is taken care of at home with more personal attention than found in a hospital or rehab centre. Home mechanical ventilation is an expensive procedure as the ventilator must be brought to the patient’s house and also a personal nurse and doctor to operate to reduce the complications of mechanic ventilation.

These pointers are all done to make sure that people overcome their fear of ventilators and think of them as life savers rather than thinking of them as the last stage of a person.

About the hospital:

Sai Sanjeevini Multi Speciality Hospitals, a unit of Singapanga Healthcare Pvt. Ltd has been providing health services to the people in need for the last 14 years. This health care organisation combines practical, proven research, cutting edge procedures and state-of-the-art treatment to produce excellent medical and lifestyle outcome for our patients. Our hospital and medical staff provide innovative medical care in a friendly, compassionate, community environment conducive to patient recuperation in a family atmosphere.