Pediatric Tracheostomy and Ventilator Care

About this topic

Welcome to principles of ventilation. Caring for a child at home with a ventilator can be very challenging. The terms and acronyms used with mechanical ventilation can be very confusing. This lesson will help to clarify this information. The first part of the lesson will focus on alterations of the function of the respiratory system that can lead to chronic respiratory failure and conditions that require long term ventilation.  We will then focus on basic concepts related to mechanical ventilation, various modes of ventilation, and trouble shooting ventilator alarms.
 Knowledge of the physiology of chronic respiratory failure helps to understand the various conditions that require long term ventilation. Being aware of the characteristics of various conditions helps you to anticipate the child’s care needs. A child with chronic lung disease may require frequent hospitalizations when young, but gradually improve and wean from the ventilator. In contrast, a child with neuromuscular disease will have a life long need for ventilatory support.

There are a variety of mechanical ventilators used in the home setting. This lesson cannot provide detailed information about each type of ventilator. However, there are basic principles of mechanical ventilation, such as volume control ventilation or pressure control ventilation that apply to all ventilators. This will be the focus of this lesson. The various modes used with ventilators will also be discussed.

There are a multitude of things that can lead to potentially life threatening problems for a child on a ventilator.  All ventilators have alarm systems to alert you to the possible problems. Causes and responses to these alarms will be discussed.

What you will learn

After you complete this lesson you will be able to do the following:

  • Describe causes of chronic respiratory failure
  • Discuss the conditions that require long term mechanical ventilation
  • Reecognize the basic principles of ventilation
  • Identify the different modes of ventilation
  • Know how to safely use a home ventilator and troubleshoot to respond to alarms

Getting the most from this lesson

To learn more from this lesson we recommend that you approach it in the following way:

  • Read through the information on the home page. The concept viewers give you additional information about the underlined terms.
  • The lecture contains the primary content for the lesson.
  • Work through the learning activity to apply the information from the lecture.
  • You will be ready for the quiz after you have completed all components of the lesson.
  • This lesson contains a great deal of information that may be unfamiliar. The lecture is in two sections. Go to the learning activity after the first section of the lecture and work through the first part of the case learning activity. Then, go back to Section Two of the lecture before finishing the second part of the case learning activity.