What is a ventilator and how does it work?


CORONAVIRUS is continuing its deadly spread and some of its victims are relying on ventilators to keep them alive.

More than 800,000 people have been struck down by the illness across the globe and demand for the life-saving machinery is increasing.

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 A nasal ventilator is pictured helping a patient suffering from coronavirus in France

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A nasal ventilator is pictured helping a patient suffering from coronavirus in FranceCredit: Reuters

What exactly is a ventilator?

Ventilators are life saving devices which help patients who cannot breathe properly on their own by pumping air into their lungs.

This machine gets oxygen into the lungs and the body and helps to get rid of carbon dioxide.

How do ventilators work?

A ventilator is connected to the patient through a tube placed into their mouth or nose and inserted into the windpipe (this is known as intubation).

In some cases, patients have surgery to have a hole made in their neck, and a tracheostomy or “trach” tube is inserted through the hole to the trachea.

 Dyson hopes to build more ventilators from its UK base in Wiltshire

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Dyson hopes to build more ventilators from its UK base in WiltshireCredit: PA:Press Association

How do they help coronavirus sufferers?

Covid-19 targets the lungs and can cause complications like pneumonia.

Severe cases will require a ventilator to be able to deliver enough oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Without one, the patient could die.

Why is there a shortage in the UK?

More than 8,000 ventilators have been deployed to the NHS but more is needed and during the press briefing on March 31, 2020 the government said they would buy from abroad including from EU nations.

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However, it estimates that the NHS will need at least 30,000 to deal with the potential flood of virus victims.

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 James Dyson has said 'the race is on' to get the new ventilator into production

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James Dyson has said ‘the race is on’ to get the new ventilator into productionCredit: PA:Press Association

Where will the Government find more ventilators?

The Government has ordered 10,000 ventilators from Dyson to help deal with the coronavirus crisis.

The firm, headed by British inventor Sir James Dyson, said it had designed a new type of ventilator in response to a call on behalf of the NHS.

Dyson said the entirely new ventilator was called the “CoVent”.

There has been an increase in domestic supply of ventilators from Ford, Airbus, McClaren, GKN Aerospace and Rolls Royce too.

This weekend the first of thousands of new ventilators will be rolled of production lines.

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