Medical Surgical Ventilator Settings & Mechanical Ventilation #4

Question

A client on the ventilator has an alarm that is constantly sounding on the low tidal volume on the ventilator. Which action should be the nurse’s priority?

Answers

  1. Check connections on the ventilator.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because the nurse should put client safety first by checking the client and then the connections or disconnections of the ventilator. Ventilator alarms are intended to alert the nurse to complications with oxygenation/ventilation and should never be silenced.

  2. Call the health care provider immediately.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the nurse should check the client first, then check the ventilator connections, and then call the health care provider if there is a problem.

  3. Instill air into the endotracheal cuff.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because it is not necessary to instill air into the endotracheal cuff before checking the client first and then the ventilator connections. If this is a problem after the first two priorities, then the nurse should call the respiratory therapist to instill air into the endotracheal cuff.

  4. Silence the ventilator alarm.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the nurse should never silence a ventilator alarm before checking to see what the problem is that is causing the alarm to beep. Ventilator alarms are intended to alert the nurse to complications with oxygenation/ventilation and should never be silenced.

Overview

Ventilators are mechanical machines that blow oxygen into the airways of the lungs. When the client breathes in, air rich in oxygen is carried to the lungs and when breathing out, a waste gas, carbon dioxide is blown out of the lungs. Low tidal volume alarms are usually triggered by air leaks in the ventilator connections. The alarms could also be caused by tubing being disconnected from the endotracheal tube or deflation of the balloon, or if the endotracheal tube becomes dislodged.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Ventilators are mechanical machines that blow oxygen into the airways of the lungs. When the client breathes in, air rich in oxygen is carried to the lungs and when breathing out, a waste gas, carbon dioxide is blown out of the lungs. The nurse should always check the client first, then check for loose connections or hose disconnections in the ventilator.

Test Taking Tip

Assessing the client is always first before checking machines. Remember alarms are intended to alert the nurse to complications caused with oxygenation and ventilation and should never be silenced.

Video Rationale