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Ventilator vs Respirator?

Pulmonary   (133,635 Views | 7 Replies)

4,881 Profile Views; 109 Posts

Please forgive my ignorance, but...

What is the difference between a respirator and a ventilator?

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5 Followers; 37,421 Posts; 100,380 Profile Views

I've heard the terms used interchangeably. I think respirator is a little dated. Almost exclusively, I hear the term ventilator now.

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AnnieOaklyRN is a BSN, RN, EMT-P and specializes in ED, Pedi Vasc access, Paramedic serving 6 towns.

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Respirator is no longer used since a machine cannot perform the act of respiration (look up the definition on Wikipedia or another site), that is why a ventilator, which does just that and only that is now called a ventilator and not a respirator.

Sweetooth

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19 Posts; 1,405 Profile Views

You must 'ventilate' b/f respirations therefore the better terminology is ventilation. They are used interchangeably but again the ventilator has settings and one is the 'respiratory rate'.

Good luck. 🙂

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109 Posts; 4,881 Profile Views

I was watching a soap opera (The Bold and the Beautiful) last week, and the doctor said they had to put Eric on a respirator because he couldn't breath for himself.

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237 Posts; 5,465 Profile Views

walktheline said:
.......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 their own. The term 'ventilation' refers to bulk movement of air measured ONLY by CO2. 'Respiration' usually refers to the actual gas exchange that occurs deep in the lungs. (Typically O2)

The two terms are indeed used interchangeably, albeit incorrectly.

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1 Post; 986 Profile Views

So many people get confused on this 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. 😉

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LoriLea has 35 years experience and specializes in Critical Care.

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WOW!...old term used interchangeably for a ventilator... But a respirator is actually a mask that painters use in a paint booth. 

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