Bob (Patient): Thank you for telling me about my diagnosis, doctor. I have been having a really hard time breathing for the past few minutes, even though I’m still using the oxygen mask. Can you help me?
Nurse Morgan: The patient told me he has been having a hard time breathing so I retook his vitals. Here they are:
O2 flow rate
Patient 2 days ago
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What is intubation?
Intubation is the process of inserting a breathing tube (also called an endotracheal tube) through the patient’s mouth and into the trachea to assist with breathing. A patient can then be placed on a mechanical ventilator to breathe for the patient during severe illness or anesthesia for surgery.
Once the patient is intubated, he will be attached to a mechanical ventilator. A mechanical ventilator is a machine that helps patients breathe when they are unable to breathe on their own due to severe illness or anesthesia. The ventilator is attached to the breathing tube in the patient’s trachea.
How does a ventilator compare to an oxygen mask?
An oxygen mask is worn on the outside of the body and requires the patient to keep breathing spontaneously on their own. The oxygen flows through the mask at a steady rate that is set by the healthcare providers. The main purpose of the oxygen mask is that the air the patient is breathing has a much higher percentage of oxygen than room air, which is 21% oxygen. For example, if a patient is on a mask receiving 4 L O2 / min, the air she is breathing is about 35% oxygen.
A ventilator can do the work of breathing for a patient. As shown in the video, the breathing tube is in the trachea. The ventilator uses pressure to push air into the lungs to simulate inhalation. Patients usually exhale on their own because the lungs are like a spring; the spring is stretched during inhalation and wants to recoil back after being stretched with air. You can also adjust the percentage of oxygen in the air you give the patient through the ventilator.