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Ventilator Defined

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Updated January 22, 2012

intubation, ventilation, ventilator, mechanical ventilation

Patient Being Intubated Before Ventilation

Image: ADAM
Definition: A ventilator is a machine used to help a patient breathe when they are unable to breathe for themselves. A tube is placed in the patient's windpipe (called intubation) and connected to the ventilator to supply air to the lungs.

The ventilator is always used when general anesthesia is given, as the drugs make it impossible for the patient to take breaths without assistance. It may also be used for patients who are so sick or injured that they have difficulty breathing without assistance.

Related Information: All About Anesthesia

Also Known As: iron lung, vent, mechanical ventilation
Examples:
During her appendix surgery her breathing was assisted by a ventilator.
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