The need for more ventilators has been a headline story for awhile. Why are ventilators so important for patients battling COVID-19? UCHealth has taken the time to explain that ventilators allow your body to heal, by doing the essential work of the lungs.

UCHealth provided the good news that at this time they have adequate numbers of ventilators, but they are still working to acquire more, for the expectation there will soon be higher numbers of patients.

Ventilators are needed for patients when the lungs stop being able to oxygenate the body.  “Your heart pumps the blood through the lungs, which pumps the blood through the rest of your body to make sure your whole body is oxygenated,” said Kmetz-Parkinson. “The ventilator allows us to deliver a higher concentration of oxygen and really push it in to the lungs and make sure that we’re keeping the lungs open, called a PEEP.”

The ventilator will essentially inhale and exhale for a patient and help work with all of the gas exchange that needs to happen in the lungs, which can take the work off of the patient.

“The medications kick in, the virus passes, and the body can kind of take its time while on the ventilator. That way your body's not having to work so hard to fight everything at once,” said Kmetz-Parkinson.

 

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