COVID-19 is an infectious disease that primarily targets the lungs. So when the organ is successfully penetrated by the novel coronavirus, breathing becomes a grueling task. This is where ventilators come in.
Mechanical ventilators are life support machines that help people breathe when they are unable to properly breathe in air on their own. For this reason, ventilators are sometimes referred to as respirators or breathing machines, according to the American Thoracic Society.
At present, the whole world is being attacked by the spread of the virus named SARS-COV-2, which causes COVID-19. The virus typically gets into the airways and disturb the normal functioning of cells in the lungs. Once a patient is critically ill and is struggling to breathe, a bedside ventilator with tubes is used to help the patient carry out respiration.
The novel coronavirus inflames the airways and drowns the lungs in fluids in severe cases. And so the ventilator’s tube is inserted into the mouth and all the way down to the windpipe, so that the machine could do the breathing for the patient or help the patient with this process.
Ventilators come with a feature that monitors the patient’s breaths per minute. Doctors can opt to set the ventilator to automatically do the breathing for the patient if not enough breaths are taken by the patient in a certain period of time.
Although ventilators are very useful in very ill patients especially among COVID-19 patients, they could be very uncomfortable. According to WebMD, the breathing tube stays in windpipe and this means patients are unable to talk, eat or drink normally. Therefore, the nutrients they need are administered via an IV line.
It is important to note that ventilators are not the ones that treat coronavirus patients. Instead, they help patients survive the disease and support their breathing until their lungs get better and are able to function normally again. Once the patient is able to breathe on their own without any problem, the breathing tube is removed and the respirator is switched off.
As of press time, the total number of coronavirus cases worldwide is at 781,485. There have been 37,578 deaths so far, while 164,726 people have fully recovered. The U.S. is the new epicenter of the pandemic after recording 161,088 cases, surpassing Italy’s 101,739.