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Unlike long term ventilator patients, most of us take for granted our ability to step out of a room for any number of trivial reasons. Many of them look forward to hemodialysis treatments or an x-ray-just to get out of their rooms. At around 250 pounds, traditional ventilators are not portable. While keeping a vent-dependent patient alive, it becomes in many ways a ball and chain. Even if it were practical to move it, traditional ventilators cannot operate without being plugged into an electrical outlet.

Enter the LTV 1000, nicknamed the laptop ventilator because at 12 pounds, it's only slightly bigger than a laptop computer. Respiratory Care Services at The Queen's Medical Center recently began using eight LTV 1000s-one for each of eight vent beds. Like a laptop, it has its own power supply, so it can travel. "Patients can even go out on one of our balconies just to watch a sunset or feel the sun on their skin," says Jack Kinkelaar, RN. "The quality of life for ventilator patients will be greatly improved." For vent dependent patients not in the hospital, the unit can be plugged into a car's lighter socket. Christopher Reeves, one of the most well-known ventilator patients, uses an LTV 1000.

The new ventilators are also part of a Queen's initiative to reduce ventilator-acquired pneumonia rates. Because the new units don't have to be disconnected for vent patients' frequent transports to various tests, they give much less opportunity for pathogens to enter.

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