By Lyndsay Parker and Selena Reece

When a patient can no longer ventilate or oxygenate on their own, a ventilator may be needed to do the work for them. To ventilate simply means to inhale and exhale, moving air in and out of the lungs; and oxygenation is the process of adding oxygen to the blood. The ventilator is a closed system that moves a pre-set volume of pressure or air through an inspiratory circuit. Then, exhaled air is delivered back to the vent. As when it comes to the respiratory system, what goes in must come out. 

Mechanical ventilation for a short time period can be provided orally via an endotracheal tube (ETT). For longer periods of intubation, a tracheostomy tube is utilized. This allows patients to wake up and move around to start their rehabilitation (patients are sedated when orally intubated). A tracheostomy tube may also be appropriate for those with chronic respiratory failure, upper airway obstructions, or progressive neurological disease. 

When a patient is ventilated, physicians specify needs for six ventilator settings:

  1. Type of ventilation
  2. Pressure
  3. Vt (tidal volume)
  4. RR (respiratory rate
  5. FiO2 (percent of oxygen)
  6. PEEP (positive end expiratory pressure)

What does all of this mean for your patient? 

Join our live webinar November 9 to dive deep into how mechanical ventilation works, learn to understand vent lingo, and identify patients who are appropriate for in-line speaking valves!

“Understanding Mechanical Ventilation: Settings, In-Line Speaking Valves, and Swallowing”

November 9, 2021
6pm ET