MedTech Outlook | Monday, May 01, 2023

A ventilator supports breathing during general anesthetic surgeries and afterward for individuals who need it.

FREMONT, CA: Ventilators aid people who can't breathe. Injuries or illnesses like COVID-19 may require a ventilator—Ventilators aid breathing during surgery. Ventilators softly push air into the lungs and let it out like normal breathing. A ventilator supports a recovering lung patient. A mouth-to-windpipe tube distributes oxygen. A ventilator may get needed if COVID-19 develops acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). ARDS patients have fluid-filled air sacs that make breathing difficult. COVID-19 patients who stop breathing or breathe too slowly may need a ventilator. COVID-19 patients with oxygen saturation < 90 percent may need supplementary oxygen.

Surgery: General anesthesia momentarily paralyzes muscles. It includes breathing muscles. Breathing during general anesthesia requires a ventilator. Most surgery patients get ventilated. After surgery, medication reverses anesthesia. The ventilator gets removed as the anesthetic wears off. Non-invasive nasal tubes give oxygen, and those with severe respiratory problems need mechanical ventilation.

Ventilator care: Ventilator patients must get protected against infection and skin irritation. These patients are usually in an ICU and need regular monitoring. Tape or a strap secures the end tracheal tube. To avoid sores and ulcers, this is replaced when soiled and rotated. Mouth care occurs regularly. The mouth must get cleaned and hydrated to prevent pneumonia and protect teeth. Oral secretions are suctioned to avoid pneumonia. Frequent turning is also necessary for ventilator-dependent patients who cannot adjust themselves.

Post-surgery: A ventilator is needed to oxygenate the brain and body. After surgery, some patients cannot breathe adequately enough to be taken off the ventilator. Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may have poor lung function before surgery. Pre-surgery ventilator users will likely stay on them until they can breathe independently. Certain operations necessitate a brief ventilator stay. Open heart surgery patients are kept on ventilators until they wake up and follow simple orders. The anesthetic wears off naturally without medication.

Intubation: Ventilators require intubation, which involves inserting an endotracheal tube into the airway. Inflate the tube's tiny gasket to secure it. The ventilator gives the patient "breaths" through the tube. Sedatives can soothe patients who need ventilators following surgery. Because having an endotracheal tube and feeling the ventilator force air into the lungs can be distressing. The idea is to keep the patient quiet and comfortable without sedating them too much.

Extubation: Extubation removes the endotracheal tube. The nurse deflates the tube gasket and removes the ties or tape. The tube gets carefully removed, and the person can breathe without the tube. Many are given masks or nasal cannula oxygen to help them breathe normally. Extubation rarely hurts but may cause coughing or sore throat.

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