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Mechanical Ventilation: Uses, Procedure, Benefits and Risk Factors

Mar 12, 2024

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What Is A Ventilator?

How does intubation differ from mechanical ventilation?

Which types of ventilation are mechanical?

Why Do People Use Mechanical Ventilators?

For whom is mechanical ventilation necessary?

How much time can you spend using a ventilator?

Procedure Of Mechanical Ventilation

What takes place while you're using a ventilator?

Monitoring

Suctioning

Drugs

Nourishment

Mobilization

Bronchoscopy

When you're on a ventilator, who looks after you?

When using a ventilator, are you awake?

What occurs when artificial ventilation is stopped?

What are the benefits of Mechanical ventilation?

What are the risks of Mechanical ventilation?

Mechanical Ventilation

When you are unable to breathe on your own, mechanical ventilation is a type of life support that assists you in breathing. This may occur during surgery or in the event of severe illness.

Although mechanical ventilation is not a direct cure for diseases, it can assist in stabilizing you while your body heals from other medical procedures and therapies.


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What Is A Ventilator?

One device that facilitates breathing is a ventilator. Similar to how crutches help you support your weight, a ventilator helps you sustain your lung function either fully or partially. An air ventilator

  • Supply your lungs with oxygen.
  • Helps in the exhalation of carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • Keeps the tiny air sacs in your lungs, known as alveoli, from collapsing by applying pressure.
  • Providers can modify the machine's settings to suit your unique requirements.

Also Read: Local Anesthesia: Types, Administration And Complications

How does intubation differ from mechanical ventilation?

Though they are not the same, intubation and mechanical ventilation frequently occur simultaneously. An airway (trachea) tube is inserted down your throat by a healthcare professional during an intubation. Your throat tube will then be connected to a ventilator by a healthcare professional. You don't always need to be intubated while using a face mask to connect to a ventilator.

Also Read: Alternative Airway Devices and Adjuncts

Which types of ventilation are mechanical?

Air is forced into your lungs by modern mechanical ventilators using positive pressure. There are noninvasive and invasive types of positive pressure breathing.

  • The term "invasive mechanical ventilation" refers to having a ventilator tube inserted into your airway. Either your neck (tracheostomy) or mouth (intubation) can accommodate this tube.
  • Noninvasive ventilation: This modality makes use of a ventilator and a face mask. The mask is securely fastened to your head by straps. Your lungs get air pushes from the ventilator. Devices you could use at home, such as CPAP or BiLevel positive airway pressure (often marketed as BiPAP®), are examples of noninvasive breathing.

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Why Do People Use Mechanical Ventilators?

When you are unable to breathe on your own, carers will support your breathing with a mechanical ventilator. Mechanical airflow:

  • Able to provide you with oxygen.
  • Helps in the removal of carbon dioxide to prevent accumulation.
  • Keeps your lungs from collapsing in some areas due to low pressure.

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For whom is mechanical ventilation necessary?

You may require artificial breathing:

  • While having surgery. Breathing enough on your own might be challenging under general anesthesia.
  • If you have infections or certain lung diseases.
  • In an emergency medical situation where breathing becomes difficult or your airway becomes blocked.
  • If you suffer from certain disorders or brain damage. It's possible that your brain isn't able to send enough signals to your lungs and other parts of your body to enable healthy breathing.
  • If you suffer from any illnesses that result in either hypoxemia (low oxygen levels in the blood) or hypercapnia (high carbon dioxide in the blood).
  • To stop you from unintentionally aspirating fluids into your lungs.

Certain situations may necessitate the use of mechanical ventilation, such as:

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How much time can you spend using a ventilator?

The duration of mechanical ventilation required is contingent upon the cause. Hours, days, weeks, or very infrequently months or years might pass. You should ideally only use a ventilator for brief periods. Your capacity to breathe on your own will be tested daily or more frequently by your doctors.

In most cases, a healthcare physician will convert you from an endotracheal tube to a neck tube (tracheostomy) if you need to be on a ventilator for more than two weeks.

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Procedure Of Mechanical Ventilation

A provider will do the following to begin invasive mechanical ventilation:

  • Administer drugs to induce drowsiness and paralysis, which will cause you to become immobile. Most likely, you'll stay sedated, but after you're on the ventilator, the paralysis will go away.
  • Place a trachea (the airway that leads to your lungs) and your throat over an endotracheal (ET) tube.
  • Connect the ventilator to the tube. Until your medical team determines that it is safe for you to breathe on your own again, the ventilator will assist you in breathing.

The general procedures for turning on mechanical ventilation are as follows. Some of these measures may vary somewhat depending on your particular scenario, particularly if it's an emergency.

Also Read: OPIOIDS: Classification, Pharmacokinetics, Neuroleptanalgesia– ANESTHESIA

What takes place while you're using a ventilator?

Your healthcare professionals will carry out extra treatments or avoid difficulties while you're on a ventilator. They consist of:

  • Monitoring
  • Suctioning
  • Administering drugs
  • Supplying nourishment and water
  • Mobilization
  • Bronchoscopy

Monitoring

To track the functioning of your body, your provider will link you to additional devices. That involves keeping an eye on your:

  • The blood pressure
  • Pulse rate
  • Breathing rate, or the number of breaths in a minute.
  • Oxygen concentrations
  • Moreover, blood tests to measure your carbon dioxide and oxygen levels as well as chest X-rays to examine your lungs are possible.

Suctioning

To keep your airways clean, suction is essential. A catheter—a tiny tube—will be inserted into the breathing tube by a healthcare professional to assist in clearing mucus (secretions). You could cough or feel queasy from it. It might be upsetting for loved ones to witness.

Drugs

Aerosolized (spray) drugs may be administered by your physician via your breathing tube. Direct inhalation of these drugs into your lungs or airways is how they function most effectively. Additionally, your doctor will use an IV to inject medicine into your veins.

Nourishment

When you're intubated and on a ventilator, you can't eat or drink regularly. You will get liquid nourishment from your provider, generally via a tube that passes through your nose and into your stomach. You will get fluids via an IV placed in a vein.

Mobilization

Regularly, your providers will make you sit up. They could occasionally get you to move.

Bronchoscopy

Bronchoscopy is a tool used by medical professionals to examine your lungs' airways. A tiny, illuminated camera is inserted into your lungs through the breathing tube. On occasion, they will collect tissue or mucous samples for analysis.

Also Read: Categories of Oxygen Therapy: Low-Flow vs High-Flow Systems

When you're on a ventilator, who looks after you?

When you require mechanical ventilation, you get treatment in the critical care unit (ICU). There, they can keep a careful eye on you. Every ICU staff member has received specialized training in caring for patients who require mechanical breathing. Some of the providers who could look after you are:

Also Read: Regional Anesthesia: Types, Instruments used in giving Anesthesia, Side Effects 

When using a ventilator, are you awake?

Your healthcare professional will make every effort to keep you as comfortable and tranquil as possible while you're on a ventilator. When necessary, they will administer medicine to keep you calm. You may feel drowsy, disoriented, or less cognizant of what is going on, but being awake (or conscious) is not unusual.

Depending on how ill you are, your doctor may occasionally need to keep you severely sedated (asleep) so that your body can heal. It's possible that your arms are being restrained to keep you from injuring yourself by tugging on the tube.

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What occurs when artificial ventilation is stopped?

Before removing the ventilator, your healthcare providers will assess your ability to breathe on your own. During these examinations, the ET tube is left in place. To remove you from mechanical ventilation, your provider will remove the ET tube after your condition has improved and you can breathe on your own.

After the ET tube is removed, you may experience soreness in your mouth or throat, or you may have a hoarse voice.

Your physician may switch you to further breathing assistance equipment once the tube is removed (a process known as extubation). These consist of either mask-based noninvasive ventilation or oxygen masks. It is occasionally necessary for a healthcare professional to intubate you and restart your mechanical ventilation.

Also Read: Inhalational Anesthetic Agents: Types use and Complications- Anesthesia

What are the benefits of Mechanical ventilation?

Mechanical ventilation has the following advantages:

  • Breathing doesn't need much effort from you. Your body's main focus might be on recovering from diseases like infections.
  • It takes out carbon dioxide and gives you all the oxygen you require.
  • Your lungs' tiny sacs are kept from collapsing by the pressure it applies that keeps your airways open.

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What are the risks of Mechanical ventilation?

Caretakers take precautions against mechanical ventilation-related issues. There may still be some dangers, though, such as these:

  • Bacterial infections: Infections like ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) can be brought into your lungs via the tube in your airways. We use antibiotics to treat this.
  • Injury to the lungs: Your lungs may suffer harm from the ventilator's force.
  • Collapsed lung: A pneumothorax is when a portion of a weak lung collapses due to the development of a hole in that lung.

Also Read: General Anaesthesia: Uses, Risks, Preparation and Procedure

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