VentilatorA ventilator is a machine that either forces air into a patient’s lung or helps to enhance the size of the patient's own breaths. It is used when a patient's lungs are too sick to support their breathing needs. The patient may also need a ventilator if they are very ill with other medical, surgical or traumatic conditions and we need to rest their lungs or body.

In CCTC, mechanical ventilation is usually delivered through a breathing tube. This is called invasive ventilation. Sometimes we can provide mechanical ventilation through a tight fitting face mask without needing to insert a breathing tube. This is called non-invasive ventilation. Patients with chronic breathing problems may also use non-invasive ventilation at night time (called BiPAP). Non-invasive ventilation does not usually provide enough breathing support if the lung disease is severe or rapidly getting worse.

Although the ventilator is a form of life support, patients on ventilators can also develop complications from being on a ventilator. This can include collapsed lungs and infection in the lung (pneumonia).

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Last Updated April 18, 2013 | © 2007, LHSC, London Ontario Canada