Why in news?
A team of engineering students from IIT Bombay and other institutes have come up with a low-cost ventilator using locally available materials.
3-D printing and laser-cutting technologies also were instrumental in the success of the prototype.
Why are Ventilators important right now?
- Among those getting infected by COVID-19, around 80% will experience only mild illness, around 15% will need oxygen support and the remaining 5% who get critical or severe will need ventilators.
- Ventilators are thus an important component of the medical infrastructure required for treating infected patients, providing critical breathing support to those falling critically ill.
What is a ventilator and what does it do?
- Simply put, a ventilator takes over the body’s breathing process when disease has caused the lungs to fail. This gives the patient time to fight off the infection and recover.
- A ventilator is used to push air, with increased levels of oxygen, into the lungs.
- The ventilator also has a humidifier, which adds heat and moisture to the air supply so it matches the patient’s body temperature.
- Patients are given medication to relax the respiratory muscles so their breathing can be fully regulated by the machine.
- People with milder symptoms may be given ventilation using facemasks, nasal masks or mouthpieces which allow air or an oxygen mixture to be pushed into the lungs.
- This is known as “non-invasive” ventilation, as no internal tubes are required.
- Another form of ventilation – continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP – keeps a patient’s airways continuously open,