Mechanical ventilation is the use of a machine to help your child breathe until he can breathe on his own. It gets oxygen into your child’s lungs and removes carbon dioxide from the body.
Mechanical ventilation may be used when your child is not able to breathe on his own, or to help him breathe more easily. In an emergency it can help your child stay alive. For example, a breathing machine may be used if your child has:
In most cases a breathing machine is used in an emergency situation. Your healthcare provider will talk about choices for your child’s treatment and explain the procedure and any risks. You should understand what your healthcare provider is going to do and how long it may take your child to recover. You have the right to make decisions about your child’s healthcare and to give permission for any tests or procedures.
Your child will be given medicine so that he or she is relaxing and sleeping while on the breathing machine. A tube will be put through your child’s mouth or nose into your child’s windpipe. The tube will be hooked up to the breathing machine. The tube keeps the airway open and is used to deliver air and oxygen to your child’s lungs and to remove carbon dioxide.
Your child may stay on the machine for several days, depending on how well he is breathing. Your child may have several blood tests while are on the machine to see how his lungs are working. When your child is healthy and strong enough to get enough oxygen on his own, the breathing machine may be slowly weaned while the tube is kept in place. The breathing machine may need to be adjusted several times over several hours while your child gets used to breathing on his own. The tube will be removed once your child is comfortably breathing on his own.
After the tube is removed, your child’s throat may feel sore, and he may have some hoarseness for several days.
Every procedure or treatment has risks. Some possible risks of this procedure include:
Ask your healthcare provider how these risks apply to your child. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.