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Mechanical Ventilator (Breathing Machine) Fact Sheet

Making the choice about mechanical ventilation for yourself or a loved one is not easy. This brochure provides information to help when thinking about mechanical ventilation.

What is Mechanical Ventilation? Mechanical ventilation is the use of a machine to support breathing. Its purpose is to:

  • Assist a person having difficulty breathing, or

  • Try to restore breathing because a person has stopped breathing or lost the ability to breathe on his/her own

Mechanical ventilation is done by placing a tube in the airway (through the nose or mouth) and into the lungs. The tube is then connected to a machine called a ventilator, or breathing machine. Sometimes people can use a face mask connected to a breathing machine instead of a tube in the airway.

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