A ventilator is a device that supports or takes over the breathing process, pumping air into the lungs. Invasive and non-invasive ventilation differ in how the air is delivered to the person. In invasive ventilation, air is delivered via a tube that is inserted into the windpipe through the mouth or sometimes the nose. In NIV, air is delivered through a sealed mask that can be placed over the mouth, nose or the whole face.

Principle- Breathe in, Breathe out

The principle function of a ventilator is to pump or blow oxygen-rich air into the lungs; this is referred to as “oxygenation”. Ventilators also assist in the removal of carbon dioxide from the lungs, and this is referred to as “ventilation”.

What do ventilators do?

A ventilator is a device that supports or recreates the process of breathing by pumping air into the lungs. Sometimes, people refer to it as a vent or breathing machine.

Doctors use ventilators if a person cannot breathe adequately on their own. This may be because they are undergoing general anesthesia or have an illness that affects their breathing.

There are many injuries and conditions that can cause respiratory failure,

  • head injury
  • stroke
  • lung disease
  • spinal cord injury
  • polio
  • sudden cardiac arrest
  • neonatal respiratory distress syndrome
  • acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
  • pneumonia
  • sepsis

Some people with COVID-19 have severe difficulty breathing, or develop ARDS. However, this only occurs  in people who become critically ill, which accounts for around 5% of all confirmed COVID-19 cases.

There are different types of ventilator, and each provides varying levels of support. The type a doctor uses will depend on a person’s condition.

Ventilators play an important role in saving lives, in both hospitals and ambulances. People who require long-term ventilation can also use them at home.

Types of ventilator

There are various ways a person can

receive ventilator support. These include:

  • face mask ventilators
  • mechanical ventilators
  • manual resuscitator bags
  • tracheostomy ventilators

Face mask ventilators are noninvasive, while mechanical and tracheostomy ventilators are invasive and work via tubes that a doctor inserts through a hole in the neck that leads to the trachea, or windpipe. Healthcare professionals term this intubation.

In invasive ventilation, air is delivered via a tube that is inserted into the windpipe through the mouth or sometimes the nose. In non invasive, air is delivered through a sealed mask that can be placed over the mouth, nose or the whole face.

Face mask ventilator

A face mask ventilator is a noninvasive method of supporting a person’s breathing and oxygen levels. To use one, a person wears a mask that fits over the nose and mouth while air blows into their airways and lungs. People with COVID-19 may use a face mask ventilator if they are having difficulty breathing or do not have sufficient oxygen levels. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) devices also operate via a face mask. People often use these for chronic conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but some doctors, also use them for people with COVID-19.

Mechanical ventilator

Mechanical ventilators are machines that take over the breathing process entirely. Doctors use these when a person cannot breathe on their own. Mechanical ventilators work via a tube in a person’s throat, pumping air into the lungs and transporting carbon dioxide away. A ventilator unit regulates the pressure, humidity, volume, and temperature of the air, depending on the controls that a doctor or respiratory therapist places. This allows healthcare professionals to control a person’s breathing and oxygen levels.

Manual resuscitator bags

Manual resuscitator bags are pieces of equipment that allow people to control the airflow of their ventilator with their hands. These devices consist of an empty bag, or “bladder,” that a person squeezes to pump air into the lungs. This can be useful as a temporary solution if a person on a mechanical ventilator needs to stop using it. For example, if there is a power outage, a person can use a manual resuscitator bag while waiting for the power to come back on.

Tracheostomy ventilator

A tracheostomy is a procedure where a doctor creates an opening in the windpipe and inserts a tube, which allows air to flow in and out. This enables a person to breathe without using their nose or mouth. People who have undergone tracheostomies can also receive ventilator support through this opening. Instead of inserting a ventilator through the mouth, doctors insert it directly into the windpipe.

Top ventilator companies pumping air into the global medical industry

  • Philips
  • Hamilton medical
  • Dräger
  • Medtronic
  • Smiths Group

5 Best ICU ventilator models in India (Updated-2021)

Top Pick

Philips V60 ICU Ventilator

  • AC Voltage : 100-240 VAC
  • AC Frequency : 50-60 Hz
  • Respiratory Rate : 0-90 BPM

The Respironics V60 Ventilator combines Respironics’ ventilation expertise with Philips’ focus on simplifying advanced health care. The result is the noninvasive ventilation gold standard with an invasive ventilation safety net and an interactive display that helps simplify patient management. The Respironics V60 uses auto-adaptive technology to help ensure patient synchrony and therapy acceptance. Improved signal processing technology is finely tuned for both adult and pediatric patients.

Product Features :
• High resolution graphics facilitating waveform interpretation.
• Internal 6-hour battery enables intra-hospital transport (actual battery time will vary depending on user settings and battery charge level). Standby mode supports patient-clinician interaction without nuisance alarms.
• Data communication capabilities support hospital connectivity.
• Respi-Link, a remote communication tool, allows efficient system diagnostics and upgrades via internet.
• AVAPS maintains a target tidal volume in a pressure limited mode. It provides extra assurance similar to a volume limited mode with the safety of a pressure limited mode.
• CPAP with C-Flex offers three levels of flow-based expiratory pressure relief. This option leads to improved sleep quality and patient comfort, adding greater flexibility and improved treatment acceptance.
• PCV can be used when greater control of the patient’s breathing pattern is required. Additionally, the option of ventilating a patient invasively gives the caregiver greater flexibility in the approach to treatment.
• ICU-grade NIV performance with enhanced safety and monitoring.

Top Pick

Meditec England 1700 ICU Ventilator

  • Tidal Volume– 50 – 2500 ml
  • Respiratory rate– 2 – 80 bpm
  • Apnea Time– 2 – 60 sec
  • Nebulizer (time) 10- 180 mins (3 Hours)

The Meditec 1700 is designed to work in a highly versatile environment. Whether you need Invasive or Non Invasive ventilation the Meditec 1700 delivers. Power packed with a range of Ventilation modes to suit individual preferences the Meditec 1700 is ideal for use in an ICU, Intra-Hospital transport, Air and Ground transport. Simplicity, In-built air supply, versatility and affordable cost of ownership make Meditec 1700 the obvious choice.

Product Features:
• Invasive as well as Non-Invasive Ventilation
• Altitude compensation
• Battery Backup: 3 Hours
• Suitable with both dual as well as single limb breathing circuits
• Touch screen as well as knob operated
• Optional: EtCO2 & SpO2 Measurement
• Inspiration hold: Measures patient’s lung compliance and resistance, Elasticity, Time constant
• Nebulizer: 10–180 minutes
• Key lock: Key & LCD Touch Screen Lock
• Waveform freeze: Freezes the waveform

Top Pick

Drager Savina 300 ICU Ventilator

  • Tidal Volume : 0.05 to 2.0 L, BTPS
  • Respiratory Rate : 0 -150 bpm
  • Power Supply : 100 V to 240 V, 50/60 Hz AC, 10 to 36 V DC

The Drager Savina is an advanced, high-quality ICU ventilator that offers excellent ventilation performance combined with easy operation. Designed for both adult and pediatric ventilation, the Savina provides advanced therapy at any acuity level.

Product Features:
• Intuitive Operating System
• Scalable And Versatile Device
• Combine Fully-featured
• High-performance Ventilation With Infinity
• Acute Care System Integration

Top Pick

Philips (SH300) Control Oxygen Ventilator

  • Tidal Volume : 20-2500ml
  • Respiratory Rate : 0.1~12 S
  • Patient Age Group : Adult, Pediatric
  • Touch Screen Present : 10.4 TFT Touch Screen

SH300 is an advanced ICU Ventilator for adults and pediatric with precise multi-ventilator modes, equipped with 10.4″ inch LCD screen in tilt angle for clear view and user-friendly operation

Product Features:
• Perfect apnea ventilation technology, alarm system and backup battery
• Pneumatically and electrically controlled
• Applicable to adults and pediatric
• Advanced flow trigger and traditional pressure trigger mechanism
• Powerful monitoring function for multi-parameters displaying

Top Pick

Hamilton- G5 ICU Ventilator

  • Maximum Inspiratory Flow :180 L/min peak flow
  • Recharge time: 7 hours
  • Oxygen Pressure : 2 to 6 bar / 29 to 87 psi
  • Oxygen Connector : DISS (CGA 1240) or NIST (optional)

It’s designed for the most complex, critically ill patients in all ICU settings where lung protection is of paramount importance. The comprehensive monitoring package and state-of-the-art diagnostic tools for lung assessment support you in making the best possible clinical decisions for your patient. Heliox and high flow oxygen therapy, allows you to tailor the HAMILTON-G5 to fit the requirements of your ICU and meet the needs of each individual patient.

Product Features:
• Automated control of the patient’s ventilation and oxygenation with INTELLiVENT-ASV
• Real-time patient synchronization with IntelliSync+
• P/V Tool Pro for lung assessment and recruitment
• Transpulmonary pressure measurement
• High flow oxygen therapy
• Adult, pediatric, and neonatal ventilation

What are the essential parameters for configuring a ventilator?

In order to set the different ventilation modes, it is important to be familiar with the fundamental characteristics of the device such as tidal volume and pressure. Here is a list of the main parameters required to configure a ventilator:

  • The tidal volume (TV)
  • Pressure (P): a distinction is made between inspiratory pressure (IP) and expiratory pressure (EP)
  • The inspiratory trigger
  • Inspiratory time
  • Respiratory rate
  • The I:E ratio (inhalation/exhalation), i.e. the ratio between inhalation and exhalation times
  • Expiration


Ventilators are devices that support a person’s breathing if they are experiencing respiratory failure.

There are different types of ventilator, including noninvasive and invasive, that provide varying degrees of support. Demand for ventilators has increased due to COVID-19.

It can take time to recover from being on a ventilator. Serious illness can impact physical and mental health. People experiencing persistent symptoms after weaning off ventilator support should seek guidance from a doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Can you breathe on your own on a ventilator?

A ventilator mechanically helps pump oxygen into your body. The air flows through a tube that goes in your mouth and down your windpipe. The ventilator also may breathe out for you, or you may do it on your own.

Q2. How do I choose a ventilator?

Choosing mechanical ventilators should begin by defining the algorithms of how to ventilate a patient. Once this is done, a ventilator should allow the transformation of specific strategies into practice and the adaptation of the mechanical support to the needs of the individual patient.

Q3. At what oxygen level do they put you on a ventilator?

When oxygen levels become low (oxygen saturation < 85%), patients are usually intubated and placed on mechanical ventilation. For those patients, ventilators can be the difference between life and death.

Q4. What is average time on ventilator?

Most of the patients in the study spent an average of 10 days on a ventilator. Usually the average time a patient in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) spends on a ventilator ranges from 3 to 7 days, according to one study.

Q5. How much are ventilators machine cost?

These full-featured ventilators are complex and expensive, costing from 2 lakh to 5 lakh and requiring dedicated software to administer high concentrations of oxygen to assist patients in respiratory distress.