Respirator is no longer used since a machine cannot perform the act of respiration (look up the definition on wickpedia or another site), that is why a ventilator, which does just that and only that is now called a ventilator and not a respirator.
.......I was watching a soap opera (The Bold and the Beautiful) last week........
There's your problem right there! LOL!
A respirator is a mask with a filter worn to protect ones lungs from fine particulate matter in the air.
A mechanical ventilator is a machine that either breaths for the Pt. or helps them breath on thier own. the term 'ventilation' refers to bulk movement of air measured ONLY by CO2. 'Respiration' usually refers to the actual gas exchange that occers deep in the lungs. (Typicaly O2)
The two twerms are indeed used interchangebly, albeit incorrectly.
So many people get confused on ths one, I did before I started school. There is a major difference between ventilation and respiration. Respiration is the act of oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange. This is a physiological process that cannot be replicated by a ventilator. It is a physiological process that can't be replicated by a ventilator. So not matter how you look at it, it is NOT called a respirator. It has and will always be called a Ventilator. Sincerely, Your Respiratory Therapist. ;-)