We’ve all heard about ventilators in the news recently, as these lifesaving machines have been in short supply after the recent outbreak of COVID-19.
Unless you happen to work in the healthcare industry, it’s unlikely that you know too much about ventilators yourself. But with Coronavirus continuing to spread, you might be interested to learn exactly what ventilators are, and what role they play in treatment of the virus.
What are ventilators?
The easiest way to think of a ventilator is as a mechanical breathing machine. It helps a patient to breathe by acting as the patient’s lungs, pushing oxygenated air into the body, and removing carbon dioxide.
The machine is connected to the patient’s lungs via a breathing tube. One end of the tube enters the patient’s nose or mouth, while the other is connected to the ventilator body itself. For patients who are less seriously ill, ventilators can also be attached to the face using a face mask.
Ventilators are a form of life support, in essence, as they provide a patient with oxygen when they otherwise wouldn’t have had it. They use oxygen sensors, like those provided by https://www.sensoronics.com, to detect a patient’s blood oxygen levels. If a patient is found to not have enough oxygen in their blood, the sensor will provide the data needed for the ventilator to administer the correct dose of oxygen to keep the patient alive.
While ventilators can’t “cure” a person or save their life, they can help to prevent a patient from dying until they recover from whatever is causing them to struggle to breathe.
The importance of ventilators with COVID-19
The reason why ventilators are so essential right now is because a number of COVID-19 patients are developing pneumonia as a complication of the virus.
Pneumonia inflames the air sacs in the lungs, and may cause them to fill with fluid or pus. This can make it hard for the patient to take in the required oxygen, which is generally characterised by difficulty breathing. Pneumonia can also cause a dry, chesty cough, a fever, and a stabbing pain in the chest.
Ventilators offer patients who end up in intensive care with Coronavirus the best chance of surviving. Not only do they provide the patient with the air they need to survive, they also act as humidifiers, providing the right amount of heat and moisture to suit the body temperature of the patient receiving treatment.
Many countries around the world have struggled with obtaining enough ventilators to treat all of their coronavirus patients. A number of individuals and businesses have stepped forward to help, producing their own hospital ventilators out of the materials they had to hand, but unfortunately, this still hasn’t been enough to meet demand.
Ventilators can’t save the lives of patients with Coronavirus. In some cases, even with supplemental oxygen, patients are still too weak to recover from the virus. But what’s certain is that without ventilators, the global death toll would be much higher.