A ventilator is a machine that either forces air into a patient’s lungs, or provides assistance to help the patient breathe on their own more effectively. A ventilator 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, heart or brain.

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 use non-invasive ventilation at home (called NIV). 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).

For more information: Ventilators