Coronavirus: What are ventilators and why are they important?

Dyson's prototype ventilatorImage copyrightDyson
Image caption Dyson’s prototype ventilator

The government has ordered thousands of ventilators to help ease the pressure on hospitals caused by the coronavirus crisis.

For patients with the worst effects of the infection, a ventilator offers the best chance of survival.

What is a ventilator and what does it do?

Simply put, a ventilator takes over the body’s breathing process when disease has caused the lungs to fail.

This gives the patient time to fight off the infection and recover.

Various types of medical ventilation can be used.