Mechanical Ventilator (part II)

March 12, 2010

Medications are often used when the patient is intubated in the form of sedative and analgesic drugs to reduce the anxiety and stress associated with the intubation as well as helping the patient with tolerating the constant irritation of the endotracheal tube. The patient is also given prophylaxis against Deep Vein Thrombosis Part I, II. When the patient is intubated this will affect the ability of the patient to talk or speak.

There is another form of mechanical ventilator which is the oldest form in which a negative pressure is used instead of a positive pressure to create a vacuum which forces air into the lung.

Ventilators are used to support and help people who can't breathe adequately.

Some patients need to stay on mechanical ventilators for a short period of time others may need to use it for a longer time. Some may need it for the rest of their lives. In such cases the machine can be used outside the hospital in the form of a portable machine. When the patient sufficiently recovers from the cause that led him/her to be on a ventilator, he/she will be weaned gradually. Once the patient can successfully breathe on his/her own, the ventilator will be stopped.

Complications of mechanical ventilation: they may include

  • Infection (pneumonia): patients on ventilators with a breathing tube in the airway have an increased risk of having pneumonia called ventilator associated pneumonia. This happens at least 48 hours after intubation. It is a serious and a common complication that is treated with antibiotics.
  • Infection of the sinuses (sinusitis).
  • Pnemothorax: it is a condition were air leaks out of the lungs into the space between the lungs and the chest wall.
  • Gastrointestinal complications: may include distension, stress related hemorrhage which can be prevented with using medications that decrease the acid secretion of the stomach.
  • Damage to the vocal cords.
  • Deep Venous Thrombosis Part I, II.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.

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