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
During her appendix surgery her breathing was assisted by a ventilator.