Learning about ventilators
A ventilator is a machine that breathes for you or helps you breathe. It is also called a breathing machine or respirator. The ventilator:
- Is attached to a computer with knobs and buttons that are controlled by a respiratory therapist, nurse, or doctor.
- Has tubes that connect to the person through a breathing tube. The breathing tube is placed in the person's mouth or in an opening through the neck into the windpipe (trachea). This opening is called a tracheostomy. It is often needed for those who have to be on the ventilator for a longer period of time.
- Makes noise and has alarms that alert the health care team when something needs to be fixed or changed.
MacIntyre NR. Mechanical ventilation. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 101.
Slutsky AS, Brochard L. Mechanical ventilation. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 97.