A Yale Medicine expert explains how mechanical ventilation works and why it may be necessary for some patients with COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a spotlight on ventilators—but few know much about what they do or how they work.
A ventilator pumps air—usually with extra oxygen—into patients’ airways when they are unable to breathe adequately on their own. If lung function has been severely impaired—due to injury or an illness such as COVID-19—patients may need a ventilator. It is also used to support breathing during surgery.