1. An apparatus for administering artificial respiration in cases of respiratory failure. 2. An appliance fitting over the mouth and nose, used for the purpose of excluding dust, smoke, or other irritants, or of otherwise altering the air before it enters the respiratory passages. SYN: inhaler (1). SYN: ventilator.
- cuirass r. one of several types of respirators producing alternating negative pressure about the thoracic cage; now rarely used.
- Drinker r. a mechanical r. in which the body (except the head) is encased within a metal tank, which is sealed at the neck with an airtight gasket; artificial respiration is induced by making the air pressure inside negative. SYN: iron lung, tank r..
- pressure-controlled r. a r. that provides a predetermined pressure to gases during inhalation, the volume of gas moved being variable, depending upon resistance.
- tank r. SYN: Drinker r..
- volume-controlled r. a r. that provides a predetermined volume of gases during inhalation, with the pressure required to move that volume remaining variable, depending upon resistance.

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res·pi·ra·tor 'res-pə-.rāt-ər n
1) a device (as a gas mask) worn over the mouth and nose to protect the respiratory system by filtering out dangerous substances (as dust or fumes) from inhaled air
2) a device for maintaining artificial respiration <a mechanical \respirator> called also ventilator

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1. a device used to maintain the breathing movements of paralysed patients. In the positive-pressure respirator air is blown into the patient's lungs via a tube passed either through the mouth into the trachea or through a tracheostomy. Air is released from the lungs when the pressure from the respirator is relaxed. The iron lung is a type of respirator in which the patient is enclosed, except for the head, in an airtight container in which the air pressure is decreased and increased mechanically. This draws air into and out of the lungs, through the normal air passages. The cuirass respirator works on a similar principle, but leaves the limbs free.
2. a face mask for administering oxygen or other gas or for filtering harmful fumes, dust, etc. See also artificial respiration.

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res·pi·ra·tor (resґpĭ-ra″tər) ventilator (def. 2).

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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