General, Research, Technology

What is a ventilator and how does it work?

Coronavirus pandemic has claimed the lives of severalthousands of people. The fact is that coronavirus infects the respiratory system of the body and leads to the development of SARS - this means that the membranes of the lungs - which supply oxygen to the blood - are blocked. In order to survive, seriously ill people will need resuscitation and mechanical ventilation. Otherwise, their lungs will be filled with liquid and death by suffocation. Today in Italy, which is the epicenter of the CoVID-19 outbreak, there is a high mortality rate for those infected with the new coronavirus. One of the reasons is the lack of mechanical ventilation devices (IVL). In this article, we will tell you what ventilation machines are and how they work.

Photo of one of the hospitals in Wuhan - the city where the outbreak of coronavirus was first recorded


  • 1 Why do seriously ill patients need a ventilator?
  • 2 What is a ventilator?
  • 3 How do ventilators work?
  • 4 Who, where and how produces ventilators?
  • 5 How much do ventilators cost?

Why do seriously ill patients need a ventilator?

Article published in the medical journal TheThe Lancet team of doctors who worked at the CoVID-19 outbreak center in China is the first study to characterize the course, treatment, and mortality among critically ill patients infected with the new coronavirus. Note that the work deals with patients who were treated at the Jintingtang Hospital in Wuhan, China from December to January. The authors of the study monitored life-threatening symptoms, studied the medications given to patients, and also monitored patients connecting to the ventilator.

Mechanical ventilation This is medical equipment designed to supply oxygen and compressed, dried air to the lungs, with the aim of saturating the blood with oxygen and removing carbon dioxide from the lungs.

Unfortunately, the results cannot be calledpositive. Of the 52 critically ill patients, the majority had to give additional oxygen, and 37 were transferred to artificial lung ventilation. As a result, 32 people died. It should be noted that the outbreak of coronavirus has led to the fact that the number of seriously ill patients has increased dramatically. This situation is observed today in many countries of Europe. Under current conditions and in the absence of a vaccine against CoVID-19, doctors in intensive care are forced to administer drugs and oxygen in order to maintain patients' lives for a sufficiently long time. This is necessary so that the body can fight the infection on its own and can restore the lungs destroyed by pneumonia.

This is how the new ventilators look, which are now being delivered to most Russian hospitals

We remind you that we have collected basic information about the new coronavirus in our special material

As the virus attacks the lungs, patientsit is getting harder and harder to get enough oxygen into the bloodstream to maintain normal functioning of the internal organs. In the worst cases, in the intensive care unit, viral pneumonia leads to acute respiratory distress syndrome, a life-threatening pneumonia. According to WHO experts, about 15% of new cases of coronavirus infection require a connection to a ventilator.

Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDSV) - Inflammation of the lungs. It is caused by many reasons that directly or indirectly affect the lungs. ARDS often leads to death, requires intensive care and mechanical ventilation.

Blood is enriched with oxygen in the lungs and carries it to the most remote points of our body. We are alive through the operation of this uninterrupted circuit.

What is a ventilator?

VentilatorDesigned to force the mixture of oxygen and compressed air into the lungs. This allows the lungs to saturate the blood with oxygen, as well as remove carbon dioxide from the lungs. As a rule, patients are connected to ventilators via an endotracheal tube, which is inserted into the airways. It is also possible to connect to the device through a mask. It is important to note that modern ventilators are extremely high-tech medical equipment and save many lives.

How do ventilators work?

The ventilator can be either manual - socalled Ambu bag - and mechanical. Ambu's bag is a standard resuscitation kit for ambulances and is used in resuscitation and operating rooms. This manual device provides an easy way to ventilate a patient’s lungs with room air or oxygen. In mechanical apparatuses, compressed air and oxygen can be supplied from a central gas supply system of a medical institution or from a cylinder of compressed air. In the countries of the former USSR, compressed air and oxygen were supplied from an individual minicompressor and an oxygen concentrator. It is also important that the gas mixture should be warmed and moistened before being fed to the patient.

It looks like a manual ventilator bag Ambu

Today, the most advanced ventilation devices aredevices with the function of neuro-controlled ventilation of the lungs. The signal coming from the brain is fixed by special highly sensitive sensors, which are located in the area of ​​transition of the esophagus into the stomach (cardia region). Moreover, there are ventilation devices with which you can walk, travel and sleep normally. Unfortunately, such devices are not produced in Russia.

Read more articles about the latest discoveries in the field of high technologies on our channel in Yandex.Zen

Who, where and how produces ventilators?

This is how the Soviet ventilation machines look like. Some of them are still used in many hospitals.

Medical technology is developing rapidly. So, a large ventilator is not just a device that pumps air, it has many additional functions, for example, intelligent ventilation - when using a computer algorithm the device adjusts to the patient’s breathing. However, this technique appeared about five years ago, and in our country it is not yet produced. Today in our country there are two large manufacturers of mechanical ventilation devices, however, in large resuscitation centers, as a rule, imported equipment is used.

How much do ventilators cost?

At the time of this writing, the costIVL devices - information received from various sources - varies from 500,000 rubles for a Russian-made device (for example, a Phase 21 IVL device) to three million or more (Chirolog sv basic device). Given the high cost of equipment, not every hospital in Russia buys high-quality or large-scale ventilation devices.