Pneumonia epidemic: why ventilator is related to patient’s life

Time:2020-03-30

In the fight against the new crown epidemic in various countries in the world, whether the medical system is equipped with sufficient ventilators determines the lives and deaths of countless critically ill patients.
A 72-year-old priest in Italy gave up the ventilator to others after contracting the new crown. It was tantamount to giving up his hope of survival and eventually dying from respiratory failure. The Spanish hospital had insufficient ventilator and doctors faced heartbreaking choice between the elderly and young people.

It is true that the patient is unfortunately infected with the new crown virus and has difficulty breathing. The most important thing is to get timely treatment and use appropriate assisted breathing. For those with severe illness, the ventilator is their lifeline, which is related to their life and death.

Therefore, in the fight against the epidemic, it is important to have adequate ventilator. The British government has purchased a large number of ventilators in response to a possible peak of the epidemic.
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So what exactly is a ventilator? How does it work?

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Principle of ventilator

Simply said, when lung failure fails to breathe, the ventilator replaces the person’s own breathing process.

This allows patients to fight off infections and eventually recover.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that 80% of patients with new coronary pneumonia have mild symptoms and do not require hospitalization, but one in six people have severe illness and difficulty breathing.

When this step is reached, it indicates that the virus has caused damage to the lungs.

At this time, the human immune system detected the virus invasion and began to encircle the virus.

During this process, the body’s blood vessels expand, allowing more immune cells to enter the blood.

But at the same time, it also allows fluid to enter the lungs, causing breathing difficulties and causing a decrease in the body’s oxygen content.

Invasive and non-invasive ventilator

To ease the patient’s breathing difficulties, the doctor uses a ventilator to inject oxygen into the patient’s lungs.

The ventilator is also equipped with a humidifier, which can adjust the humidity and temperature in the oxygen delivered by the ventilator to the patient to keep it consistent with the patient’s temperature.

At the same time, the doctor will give medication to patients using the ventilator, relax the muscles of the respiratory tract to cooperate with the use of the ventilator.

Patients with mild symptoms do not have to use this invasive ventilator.

Doctors can help them with non-invasive ventilators such as face masks, nasal masks and masks.

There is also a mask-type oxygen supply device that covers the entire head, which has the advantage of reducing the chance of droplets in the breath transmitting the virus.

These are non-invasive ventilators because no intubation is needed.

An invasive ventilator is usually used in the intensive care unit to ensure that blood oxygen levels in the patient’s body are maintained at normal levels.