A ventilator is a machine that breathes for you or helps you breathe. It is also called a breathing machine or respirator. The ventilator:
- Is attached to a computer with knobs and buttons that are controlled by a respiratory therapist, nurse, or doctor.
- Has tubes that connect to the person through a breathing tube. The breathing tube is placed in the person's mouth or in an opening through the neck into the windpipe (trachea). This opening is called a tracheostomy.
- Makes noise and has alarms that alert the health care team when something needs to be fixed or changed.