To help avoid infections, the caregiver must understand and manage the ventilator circuit. It��s important to know:
How the system parts work together
What circumstances promote germs
When to change the ventilator circuit to better protect the patient
Know ventilator circuitry
The ventilator circuit includes all equipment between the ventilator output port and the patient's artificial airway.
Ventilator circuit components include:
Gas-delivery tubing
Monitoring tubes
Medication-delivery systems
Monitoring probes and devices
Ventilator exhalation valves
Water traps
Expiratory tubing
Water reservoirs
Humidification systems
Learn how these work together as a first step in preventing illness, such as pneumonia.
Causes of infection
Even temporary breaks in the circuit during routine equipment changes open the door to germs. Next to rigorous hand washing, the simplest way to protect a patient from infection is by reducing the number of times the ventilator circuit is opened and closed.
Making changes in the ventilator circuit
Physicians or ventilator suppliers may recommend changing the ventilator circuits at different frequencies, depending on the circuit manufacturer��s instructions (from 48 hours to several days). Check with a physician or supplier for a recommendation.