In the modern era, a sick patient’s care cannot be imagined without a mechanical ventilator. With growing life expectancy and the burden of comorbid illness, more patients get admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and require ventilatory support in one or the other forms. The orientation and understanding of the ventilator are a must for all intensivists.
A mechanical ventilator is an automated machine that transforms the energy in a predetermined manner to augment or replace the patient’s muscles in performing the work of breathing.
Components of a Ventilator
The functioning of a ventilator can be visualized in terms of the following components:
It includes a gas supply system, batteries, and the power source for the mechanical ventilator.
Various Options for Power Supply
Gas pressure to operate inspiratory flow and run valves and switches by supplying mechanical power.
Gas pressure to drive inspiratory flow, and electrically powered valves and switches (most commonly used).
Electrically powered turbines/compressors for inspiratory gas flow as well as to run valves/switches.
The generation of inspiratory flows can be achieved in various ways (Table 43.1).