Ventilatory support by a mechanical respirator may be required in patients with major trauma, chronic pulmonary disease, nervous system disorders, or following major surgery. An understanding of the characteristics of mechanical ventilators and their principles of operation is essential for proper application to specific problems. Repeated measurement of tidal volume and arterial blood gases is the most reliable method for determining the need for ventilatory support and the adequacy of ventilation once it is initiated. It is the purpose of this report to serve as a primer for those not already familiar with mechanical respirators, including the techniques and hazards of their use.
Bryant LR. Mechanical Respirators: Their Use and Application in Lung Trauma. JAMA. 1967;199(3):149–154. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120030053007
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