A ventilator is a machine that provides mechanical ventilation by moving breathable air into and out of the lungs, to deliver breaths to a patient who is physically unable to breathe, or breathing insufficiently. Modern ventilators are computerized microprocessor-controlled machines, but patients can also be ventilated with a simple, hand-operated bag valve mask. Ventilators are chiefly used in intensive-care medicine, home care, and emergency medicine (as standalone units) and in anesthesiology (as a component of an anesthesia machine).
Ventilators are sometimes called "respirators", a term commonly used for them in the 1950s (particularly the "Bird respirator"). However, contemporary hospital and medical terminology uses the word "respirator" to refer to a protective face-mask