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Answering the Call - May 2020 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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The conversion, which is simple for any anesthesia professional to per- form, involves removing the anesthetic gas vaporizers and adding a humidity-heat-viral exchange filter to the breathing circuit. That's it. Why it works A ventilator is just one of the many components that makes up an anesthesia machine. When a patient is unconscious, anesthetic medications we use cause the patient to stop breathing; the built-in ventilator takes over that function for the patient by means of mechanical ventilation. If you simply place the patient on an anes- thesia machine and do not turn on the anesthetic gases, it's essen- tially a ventilator. An anesthesia machine's vaporizers house anesthetic gases, which you won't need when using the machine as a ventilator. It's important to remove them so someone doesn't inadvertently turn on anesthesia while a patient is being ventilated. The heat and humidity exchange filters add humidity to the breathing circuit, ensuring the airway stays warm and moist. The exchange devices also filter bacteria and virus- es, helping to keep the anesthesia machines clean and safe to use. Anesthesia professionals need to always be present to operate the anesthesia machine and manage its use as a ventilator. Ideally, an anesthesia provider can oversee three or four of these machines at once. If an alarm goes off on the machine, an anesthesia provider would need to be ready to tend to that alarm, which is only heard in the patient's immediate area. They cannot be tied to a central monitoring system as you would typically find in a tradi- tional ICU. The close monitoring of patients is imperative. Anesthesia machines do not have the same specialized functionali- ty of typical standalone ventilators, which may offer additional breathing support modes. For example, if the patient has a certain M A Y 2 0 2 0 • O U T PA T I E N T S U R G E R Y. N E T • 1 0 1

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