The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2000 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

New Portable Ventilator Technology

Robert S. Campbell, RRT FAARC University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio

What makes a ventilator portable? Many ventilators have wheels, but is that enough?!!! What is required of a portable ventilator? Are they only to be used during patient transportation or are they necessary for the mechanical ventilation of chronic ventilator dependant patients outside the acute care hospital? Does that mean that there is no place for portable ventilators within the acute care facility? These questions and more will be answered during this presentation.
Mechanical ventilators are becoming smaller, more versatile, and more sophisticated. Features and characteristics that are important to portable ventilators are efficiency (power and gas supply), reliability, durability, ease of use, safety, and monitoring. Gas delivery systems have improved, making it easier for the patient to breath and more efficient for the ventilator to operate. Monitoring and alarming of important patient variables have improved and become more easily accessed and understood by the user. Power systems have become more reliable and efficient. The end result is that we should not judge a mechanical ventilator by its size, rather its capabilities. Many new generation portable ventilators possess capabilities and characteristics that challenge that of their larger and more expensive ICU counterparts.

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