Medicine today is concerned with the diagnosis, cure and prevention of disease. As in many other aspects of human life, technology has begun to play an increasingly important part in the fight against disease. Many machines, such as kidney machines, heart-lung machines and life support units, are now essential features of a well equipped hospital. In the future, we can expect to see an increasing range of machines used to diagnose and treat people’s illnesses.
Many people alive today owe their lives to the machines of an intensive care unit and the people who operate them. Critically ill patients who would have died quickly can now be restored to health thanks to modern technology.Among the most important machines in an intensive care unit are respirator. Critically ill patients are often unable to breathe, and these machines keep air moving in and out of their lungs. A modern respirator electronically controls the pressure, flow and time of each breath, together with the amounts of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. The air is supplied to the patient via a tube through the mouth, nose or (in the case of long-term patients) through the neck.
Patients are also linked to a number of different monitors. Breathing is monitored by devices that measure oxygen and acid levels in the blood. The activity of the heart is monitored by an electrocardiograph (ECG) and is shown on a video display. A cerebral function monitor (CFM) can be used to monitor a patient’s brain activity-. Temperature and blood pressure are also monitored.