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Encyclopedia > Ventilator

A medical ventilator is a device designed to provide mechanical ventilation to a patient. Ventilators are chiefly used in intensive care medicine and emergency medicine (as standalone units) and in anesthesia (as a component of an anesthesia machine).

In its simplest form, a ventilator consists of a compressible air reservoir, air and oxygen supplies, a set of valves and tubes, and a disposable or reusable "patient set". The air reservoir is pneumatically compressed several times a minute to deliver an air/oxygen mixture to the patient; when overpressure is released, the patient will exhale passively due to the lungs' elasticity. The oxygen content of the inspired gas can be set from 21 percent (ambient air) to 100 percent (pure oxygen). Pressure and flow characteristics can be set mechanically or electronically.

Ventilators may also be equipped with monitoring and alarm systems for patient-related parameters (e.g. pressure and flow) and ventilator function (e.g. air leakage, power failure), backup batteries, air and oxygen tanks, and remote control and alarms. The pneumatic system is nowadays often replaced by a computer-controlled turbopump.

Modern ventilators are electronically controlled by a small embedded system to allow exact adaptation of pressure and flow characteristics to an individual patient's needs. Fine-tuned ventilator settings also serve to make ventilation more tolerable for the patient. In Canada, respiratory therapists are responsible for tuning these settings.

Life-critical system

Because the failure of a mechanical ventilation system may result in death, it is classed as a life-critical system, and precautions must be taken to ensure that mechanical ventilation systems are highly reliable. This includes their power-supply provision.

Mechanical ventilators are therefore carefully designed so that no single point of failure can endanger the patient. They usually have manual backup mechanisms to enable hand-driven respiration in the absence of power. Some systems are also equipped with compressed-gas tanks and backup batteries to provide ventilation in case of power failure or defective gas supplies, and methods to operate or call for help if their mechanisms or software fails.

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Ventilation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (367 words)
Ventilation is air circulation of air, typically between a room, a tunnel, etc., and the air outside.
Ventilation in a structure is also needed for removing water vapor, produced by breathing, burning, and cooking, and for removing smells, e.g.
If a large fire is not properly ventilated, not only will it be much harder to fight, but it could also build up enough poorly burned smoke to create a smoke explosion, or enough heat to create a flashover.
AllRefer.com - ventilation (Technology: Terms And Concepts) - Encyclopedia (635 words)
Proper ventilation requires also that there be a movement or circulation of the air within the space and that the temperature and humidity be maintained within a range that allows adequate evaporation of perspiration from the skin.
It was formerly believed that the discomfort, headache, and lethargy commonly associated with poor ventilation were caused entirely by the increase in the amount of carbon dioxide and the decrease in the oxygen content of the air.
An outgrowth of studies of problems of ventilation is the development of methods of air conditioning.
  More results at FactBites »



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