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April 7, 2020

How ventilators work

how to use ventilators

When it comes to COVID-19, the sickest patients often suffer lung damage that impairs their ability to get oxygen to the blood. This oxygen is then delivered to the vital organs (i.e., heart, kidneys, brain, etc.) A critical tool for saving these patients is to place them on mechanical ventilation, an invasive procedure that involves putting a tube in their airway which is then connected to a ventilator to support their breathing.

Step 1

patients are given sedating and pain medication to make them comfortable, and then a medication that paralyzes their breathing muscles to prevent them from coughing and spreading viral particles in the air. A tool called a laryngoscope is used to identify the opening of the trachea.

Step 2

A tube called an ‘endotracheal tube’ is placed into the opening of the trachea.

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Step 3

The endotracheal tube is then connected to the ventilator. The ventilator puts pressurized and oxygenated air into the patients lungs through the endotracheal tube in attempt to get oxygen to the blood where it is then delivered to the vital organs.

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