Very premature babies usually need some kind of breathing assistance. It’s important to note that there is a vast difference between between an infant being “on oxygen” and “on a ventilator”. While we all want to see our children ultimately tube-free and wireless, receiving supplemental oxygen through a nasal cannula is not nearly as invasive, damaging, or frightening as being on a ventilator.

There are three different types of ventilators (and infinite combinations of pressures and settings) that are used to help these tiny babies breathe:

  1. Classic respirators (or “classic vents”)- These machines provide breathing assistance by supplying and regulating a flow of pressurized oxygen that goes through a tube down into the windpipe. Classic vents usually provide 30-60 breaths per minute.
  2. High-frequency ventilators (or “oscillators”)- High frequency ventilation manages a baby’s breathing at 500 to 2,000 breaths per minute. This drastically increased rate of breathing reduces pressure on the lungs. Changing the ventilating pattern through the use of the oscillator may help minimize some of the damage to the infant’s lungs.
  3. Jet ventilation (or “the Jet”)- Jet ventilation (JV) is a special type of mechanical ventilation that is characterized by the blowing of an O2/gas mixture at high velocity into the airway. Use of the Jet in small babies is often considered a “last ditch effort” because of the near guarantee of lung damage.

Our daughter spent time on both the classic vent and the oscillator. She was never put on the Jet, but there was some discussion about it. If your baby is on a ventilator, make sure you ask plenty of questions. The more you know about the settings and pressures, the more informed you’ll be about how your child is doing. Nurses are fantastic resources as are respiratory therapists.

For those of you who have had a child on a vent:

What type of vent was your baby on?
How long was your child on the vent?
What were your biggest concerns about the ventilator?

Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Email Tumblr

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>