How Ventilator Machine Save People’s Lives from Coronavirus?
The coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone in one way or the other. It has infected millions of people and killed many. Compared to the infected cases, however, the death rate is relatively low. It is because of two main things; ventilators and frontline workers. So, how do ventilator machines save people’s lives from coronavirus?
The devices are indeed playing an essential role in the whole coronavirus treatment process. It is a boon for patients as well as the medical field. Let us read and learn a little more about the machine.
What is a Ventilator Machine?
A ventilator machine is an instrument that sends air into a person’s lungs. The device has several functions. It can maintain pressure, volume, room temperature, and humidity all at once.
A specialist can activate them according to a patient’s conditions. Once activated, it assists a patient in the breathing process.
You can also call the device a
- Mechanical ventilation
- Breathing apparatus or machine
A virus such as a coronavirus can affect the respiratory system badly, especially the lungs. As a result, patients suffer from several issues. They include shortness of breath, coughing, difficulty in breathing, and even dizziness. Some people also suffer from “acute respiratory distress syndrome.”
The conditions can sometimes become quite severe and prove fatal. But a patient can breathe easier and fight to recover with the help of a ventilator machine. The breathing machines have helped millions of people recover.
How Does a Ventilator Machine Work?
The device has a tube that goes down a patient’s throat. The respirator regulates the “optimal air pressure” and supplies oxygen to the lungs. If you are a patient with respiratory issues, the device can help you in breathing.
A breathing apparatus functions wholly or partially in the breathing process, depending on a patient’s condition. If patients have the severest symptoms, doctors have to sedate them.
Being on a respirator can confuse the patients, and they may harm themselves. Hence, to prevent any mishap, the hospital staff keep the patients sedated. That way, they will stay calm and breathe easier.
How Does Coronavirus Affect the Respiratory System?
Research suggests that there are numerous types of coronaviruses present on earth. Of these, however, scientists have discovered only seven types that affect human beings.
Out of the seven, four types cause only moderate illnesses, but three of them are deadly. They cause the following diseases:
- Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)
- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
The COVID-19 coronavirus infects the body via mouth, nose, or eyes. Once it is in the body, the virus finds its way to the lungs. Studies show that the virus then attacks the “epithelial cells” which line our airways.
The invasion of the virus causes inflammation. The condition prevents the lungs from functioning normally. As a consequence, the lungs are unable to remove the particles and fluid. The accumulation of debris and liquid can quickly usher in “hypoxemia.” It is a condition when oxygen levels in the blood go lower than normal.
When there is a shortage of oxygen in the body, a person will find it difficult to breathe, get confused, cough, and even pass out. If we don’t seek medical attention fast, the condition can also lead to death.
We have all seen what the deadly virus can do. But thanks to the respirators and medical workers, many have recovered.
How Does a Ventilator Machine Help Patients?
Earlier, we learned that a mechanical ventilator pushes air into a patient’s lungs. The device comes in handy when the lungs stop functioning normally.
The machine has the capability of backing up the lungs. It balances the pressure in the lungs and provides them with a higher level of oxygen.
As a result, a patient can breathe more comfortably. The device also reduces the amount of carbon dioxide from the body. It, in turn, maintains the pH levels in the blood.
While a ventilator itself is not a cure for coronavirus diseases, it supports the body to fight the infection. It enables a patient to keep breathing and come out of danger. With continuous use and medical assistance, people infected with coronavirus make a full recovery.
How long does a patient need to use a ventilator machine?
The duration of the machine’s use depends on patients’ conditions. Some people might require using it longer than others. Usually, hospitals keep patients on a respirator till they can fully breathe on their own.
Other uses of ventilators
Ventilators also come in handy in other cases such as:
- When patients are in surgery and unconscious, the device can help them breathe at the time of operation.
- After surgery: Some people may require a breathing machine for days after the operation.
- Difficulty in breathing: A ventilator can assist any person who cannot breathe freely on their own.
People with the following conditions may also require breathing machines:
- Lung infection
- Drug overdose
- Brain injury
- Premature lung development (babies)
Some other illnesses and conditions requiring breathing machines include COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), Collapsed lung, Myasthenia gravis, and Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).
Does Being on a Ventilator Pose Any Risk?
Mechanical ventilation can save lives and has saved many lives to date. But as with any medicine or treatment, long-term use can have adverse effects. Patients using the device for a long time may get
- Sinus infections
- Lung damage (due to immense pressure), (due to oxygen overdose in lungs), (pneumothorax)
- Throat irritation
- Damage to the larynx (voice box)
- Cuts and scratches to tongue, throat, and lips
- Blood clots and
- Skin infections
Patients can get sicker with the new infections if they remain longer on mechanical ventilation. But doctors and medical workers know more about the virus now. So, they make an effort to remove the machine as early as possible. If patients can breathe independently, doctors can tackle the other issues better without worrying about new infections.
Mechanical ventilation is undoubtedly an excellent invention for the medical field. It has and will continue to save many lives around the world. Even now, many patients infected with coronavirus are receiving treatment.
If you or your loved ones get sick and have difficulty breathing, rush to the hospital. The device’s timely assistance can save your or their lives. Often, we hesitate to go to the doctor, and conditions turn from bad to worse. So, we should be alert and get help immediately.
Though a vital machine, there is a shortage of mechanical ventilation in many places. So, you can research in advance and keep a list of hospitals that have them. If an emergency arises, you can choose one of the places on the list to seek assistance.
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