A ventilator is a machine that helps a person breathe or breathes
for the person, controlling and monitoring the amounts of air and oxygen
flowing into the person's lungs. Ventilators may be used for people who have
serious breathing conditions such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, and chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Doctors typically attach a ventilator to a tube they
have inserted into the person's windpipe (trachea) through the person's mouth
or nose. If the person needs the ventilator for a long period of time, the
surgeon may make an opening directly in the trachea (tracheostomy) and place
the tube through this opening.