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Definition of Ventilator

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Updated July 19, 2012

Definition of Ventilator
Photo © A.D.A.M.
Definition: Ventilators provide respiratory support to babies who cannot breathe on their own, or who cannot breathe well enough to oxygenate their bodies. A ventilator is a machine that puffs “breaths” of air directly into the lungs. The air reaches the lungs via an endotracheal (ET) tube which travels from the mouth or nose into the trachea, the tube in the throat that carries air to the lungs.

There are many types of ventilators. Doctors and NICU staff adjust different settings to carefully adjust the breaths to suit each individual premature infant. Some common settings include the rate (the number of breaths per minute that the ventilator delivers), pressure (amount of force behind each breath), and the amount of oxygen in the breaths.

Also Known As: vent, mechanical ventilation
Examples:
Because he wasn't breathing well on his own, the doctor put him on a ventilator to breathe for him.
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