How does non-invasive ventilation works?

For people with health conditions like sleep apnea or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, breathing independently can be a little challenging. Therefore, such people need ventilators that deliver oxygen into their lungs. While the invasive ventilators use an endotracheal tube that is connected to your nose or throat for this purpose, non-invasive ventilators do not use an invasive or artificial way. They help you breathe easier and reduce the pressure on your lungs. To know more about this treatment, read further!


What are the types of non-invasive ventilators?

Mainly, non-invasive ventilation types are two. These include-



  • Positive pressure ventilation-


In this type of ventilation, the air is pushed into your lungs, usually through a mask and tube. It can offer you ventilatory support through the upper airway. Unlike invasive ventilation, NPPV does not require constant monitoring and can be used in a general hospital ward. A few examples of this type of ventilation include CPAP, BiPAP, and APAP machines.

  • Negative pressure ventilation-

This method of treatment is hardly used nowadays for curing patients. Here, the air is sucked into your lungs by contracting and expanding your chest using a device that is wrapped around your body.


How does non-invasive ventilation work?

One of the most commonly used methods of treating patients with respiratory problems is positive pressure type ventilation. It provides air to your lungs in the following way-

  • First of all, the ventilator forces air from the cylinder to your airway using a face mask/head mask.
  • Next, the setting of the NIPPV is adjusted so that they regularly blow air into your airway and stop.
  • The cycle keeps repeating and helps you inhale oxygen and expel carbon dioxide to/from your body.


How is NIPPV set up?

Although this type of ventilatory support does not cause pain, your doctor may still give you sedatives/meds to keep you drowsy for reducing anxiety. Here is how the NIPPV is set up-

  • First, the patient is set up upright in the bed at a 30-90 degrees angle.
  • Next, a face mask/head mask is fitted around your face tightly in order to prevent the air from escaping.
  • A strap connected to the face mask is put over your head to maintain its position.
  • The oxygen cylinder is attached to the non-invasive ventilator.
  • The face mask is attached to the ventilator. The air pressure is then adjusted adequately by your doctor.


How effective is NPPV?

NPPV enhanced the survival rate of COPD patients who had hypercapnia and respiratory acidosis, according to a research paper published in Lancet in 2014. The study showed that people with COPD who use non-invasive ventilators had a lessened risk of death.


Furthermore, a 2016 study reported that long-term NPPV improves arterial blood gas, lung function, and health-related quality of life. These results were much better in the case of high-intensity non-invasive ventilation as compared to low-intensity NPPV.


So, this is how non-invasive ventilation works.

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