The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely increased the curiosity of a common man regarding intensive care facilities and ventilators as are major life support tools. This article gives an idea of why a doctor discusses ventilator support with the family. It is a machine that provides artificial respiration.
Indications that an infected COVID-19 patient needs a ventilator
1) The patient is not awake or drowsy, eg. after convulsion, drug overdose, poisoning, road traffic accident or a stroke
2) To protect the airways in case of altered sensorium i.e. to prevent aspiration and hence protect the lungs
3) After prolonged surgery to maintain the state of anesthesia for longer duration and wait for complete recovery
4)The patients who have underlying lung disease, heart disease or kidney failure and hence have poor oxygen levels
5) After a cardiac arrest or a respiratory arrest
6) Multi-organ failure
7) Unstable vital signs include very low oxygen levels, hypotension, decreased heart rate, etc.
It is important to have a detailed discussion with the doctor regarding the requirement and indication of ventilators.