Q:

How long can you stay on a ventilator?

A:

Some patients in the Mayo Health System have been on ventilators for more than five years as of April 2014, according to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Most patients only need a ventilator for a few weeks, but some may need a ventilator for years, notes MedlinePlus.

Long-term ventilator patients are moved from hospitals to long-term care facilities. In rare cases, these people can go home, but this usually occurs if someone has a breathing hole in the neck rather than a ventilator tube through the mouth, explains MedlinePlus. A ventilator, otherwise known as a breathing machine or respirator, helps patients breathe when they cannot breathe on their own. A ventilator's breathing tube is inserted in the patient's mouth or through a small hole cut into the trachea through the neck. The machine is connected to a computer to allow health care professionals to make adjustments, and the ventilator sounds an alarm if something needs to be adjusted.

Most ventilator patients are sedated so they remain comfortable while using the device. People on a ventilator cannot talk, but they can write if they are strong enough to communicate. Some patients may be restrained so they do not pull out vital tubes accidentally, notes MedlinePlus. Doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists closely monitor ventilator patients for signs of lung infections.

Learn More
Sources:

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the symptoms of a hyperactive thyroid?

    A:

    According to MedicineNet.com, the most common symptoms of a hyperactive thyroid are sweating excessively, being intolerant to heat, nervousness, agitation, tremors, increased bowel movements, weight loss, tiredness and decreased concentration. MedicineNet.com also states that the symptoms become more severe as the condition worsens.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a pelvic cyst?

    A:

    According to the Center for Specialized Gynecology, pelvic cysts are fluid-filled pockets that form in the pelvic region, most often on the ovaries. Symptoms of pelvic and ovarian cysts include irregular menstrual cycles, frequent urination, pelvic pain and nausea. Pelvic cysts are sometimes caused by incomplete ovulation and can also occur after surgical procedures. In many cases, pelvic cysts clear up without treatment, but certain cases require medical treatment.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Does allergy immunotherapy work?

    A:

    According to WebMD, whether or not immunotherapy works depends on how severe allergy symptoms are and the allergen causing the problem. In general, however, immunotherapy is effective for allergies relating to dust mites, bee stings, pollen, animal dander and mold.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are causes of colon wall thickening?

    A:

    MD Consult states that the most common reason people experience thickening of the colon wall is diverticulitis. However, edema, congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, infections, parasitic infestations and inflammation can also cause intestinal thickening.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore