How We Can Help
Respiratory Support Treatment Information
We offer a full range of respiratory support techniques to meet your needs, whether you require assistance after surgery or long-term critical care.
- Oxygen therapy. Oxygen therapy is commonly used if you do not have enough oxygen in your blood (hypoxemia). We increase the amount of oxygen in your blood by having you breathe in air with a high oxygen concentration. We place a mask over your nose and mouth or place tubes in your nose to deliver the oxygen.
- Non-invasive respiratory support. If your lungs are not functioning properly, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines keep airways open, allowing you to take more oxygen into your blood. To use a CPAP machine, you wear a mask over your nose and mouth that is connected to an air pump. The pump keeps constant air pressure in your airways so they do not narrow and widen like they do when you breathe normally. CPAP machines can be used with or without oxygen therapy. Non-invasive support may be safer than other respiratory support techniques for critically ill patients, especially those with weakened immune systems who cannot fight off infection. However, it may be uncomfortable for long-term use.
- Tracheostomy. For more serious respiratory distress or respiratory failure, a tracheostomy is necessary to ensure proper breathing. A tracheostomy is a surgical procedure to create an opening directly into your trachea, the airway in your throat. This procedure is most often used if you require long-term breathing support or if you have experienced trauma that will not allow you to breathe through your nose or mouth. After the surgery, a tube runs from the tracheostomy to a ventilation machine to so you receive the air you need. When you have a tracheostomy, you may not be able to speak normally. Speech therapists assist you in learning how to communicate with a tracheostomy. Respiratory therapists help you with other issues that arise, such as coughing or having excess mucus.
- Endotracheal intubation. For temporary respiratory support, a tube is inserted through your nose or mouth and down your throat into your trachea. The tube is then connected to a ventilation machine so that you continue to breathe properly. Intubation does not require surgery, but causes similar issues to a tracheostomy such as inability to speak or eat normally. Speech and respiratory therapists support you with these side effects of intubation.
- Ventilatory support. Our physicians use ventilators for a wide range of patients, such as those undergoing surgery or for patients with complete respiratory failure. Ventilators are attached to tracheostomies or an endotracheal tube. Ventilators breathe for you. They pump oxygen-rich air into your lungs and remove carbon dioxide. While you are on a ventilator, we closely monitor your blood oxygen levels to make sure it is providing the support you need.
Respiratory Support Locations & Physicians
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Respiratory Support Support Services
Respiratory failure is a life-threatening condition with a variety of causes. Learn more about the condition and respiratory support services by visiting the websites below.
A Sampling of Respiratory Support Support Services
IU Health Pulmonology & Respiratory Care
Learn more about how IU Health treats conditions that cause respiratory failure, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
The NHLBI website explains ventilator machines, how they are used and what to expect while you are using one.