The mechanical ventilator is an essential part of life support in the intensive care unit (ICU). It was the need to use the mechanical ventilators outside the operating theatre during the poliomyelitis epidemic in 1950s that gave birth to the ICUs of today.
Clinicians working in ICU have to become familiar quickly, with how to handle use a ventilator, and fulfil the tasks of initiating, maintaining and weaning patients from mechanical ventilation. This eCourse deals with the physiology underlying ventilatory support, and the basic principles of applying mechanical ventilation in clinical practice.
Although mechanical ventilator is an essential, life-saving device, its use is not free of harm. A solid knowledge of the principles of mechanical ventilation and of the potential harms associated with its use are of paramount importance for the successful and safe use of ventilators in the ICU.