As we all know, breathing is an essential function. Most of us take breathing for granted, and we don’t think about it until we have a problem. Some patients have a breathing problem that requires them to use a mechanical ventilator to help them breathe. Neuromuscular disease, spinal cord injury, the pulmonary and other conditions may take away a patient’s ability to breathe on their own.
When a patient cannot breathe on their own, they may be experiencing Respiratory Insufficiency or even Respiratory Failure.
When a patient experiences Respiratory Insufficiency or Respiratory Failure, the mechanical ventilator may need to provide most or all of the work associated with breathing. When this happens, we can work closely with your physician to ensure that the mechanical ventilator is setup correctly and monitored closely.
It is very important to have a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) perform a thorough setup when a mechanical ventilator is prescribed. In addition, it is important that all family members and caregivers participate in the training sessions provided by the Respiratory Therapist. Training sessions often last more than 2 hours, and they can provide you with valuable information that will give you confidence and peace of mind when you are caring for someone on a mechanical ventilator. Here at RQS, we emphasize the value of multiple thorough training sessions.
Here are some terms associated with mechanical ventilation that you may hear when talking with your Respiratory Therapist or your Physician.
NIV / NIPPV - Non-Invasive Ventilation or Non-Invasive Positive Pressure Ventilation. This type of therapy uses a mechanical ventilator to help patients breathe properly. Typically, the Trilogy ventilator or the BiPAP AVAPS is used to provide the ventilatory support. There are many modes of ventilation that can be used with NIV and your Respiratory Therapist can help you find the mode that is right for you. With this type of ventilation, a nasal or full face mask is often used to deliver the therapy. The mask is a significant piece of the puzzle for patients receiving NIV. The mask should fit well and it should be comfortable and easy to use.
Invasive Ventilation- When a patient has a tracheostomy tube, they will need this type of therapy. The mechanical ventilator will connect to the tracheostomy tube and it will provide the necessary support so that the patient can breathe properly. A ventilator such as the Trilogy or LTV1150 will be used when providing support through a tracheostomy tube. The home BiPAP AVAPS device is not adequate for use with a tracheostomy tube. It is important to know how to provide airway care and maintenance for patients that have a tracheostomy tube. We have a page dedicated to trach care here on our website.