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A state-of-the-art ventilator which is unlike any used currently in public hospitals is now being used to treat patients in intensive care at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital.

The machine, known as a Bella Vista ventilator, was first trialled at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital last year, but is now operational in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with other NSW hospitals looking to follow Hornsby's lead.

Used widely overseas, the ventilator only came onto the Australian market recently and boasts in-built technology which is unlike other machines.

ICU Nurse Unit Manager, Jay Halkhoree, said the ventilator has the ability respond to the patient's needs and adjust the flow of oxygen accordingly which means it doesn't need to be altered manually.

"Traditionally ventilators of this calibre are non-portable, however, the Bella Vista ventilator is fully portable and operates on piped medical oxygen only. Other ventilators on the market usually require both piped medical oxygen and air," he said.

"It can provide immediate information and data to medical staff and map the distribution of airflow to the patient.  This tells the clinicians how well the lungs have improved and which part of the lungs having more trouble receiving oxygen. This information enables us to provide the right treatment at the right time therefore helping to reduce the length of stay for some patients.

"It is so new and has so many new technological features we haven't seen before. The previous ventilators were very good and there was nothing wrong with them, but this is so advanced."

 It was through the help of the hospital's Pink Ladies and Males volunteers auxiliary that the first ventilator was bought, with a $55,000 donation to cover the cost.

Since the generous donation by the volunteers, the hospital has now purchased an additional five which has been welcomed by staff.

ICU senior staff specialist Dr James Fratzia said: "We found an improvement in oxygenation, tidal volume and removal of carbon dioxide when the patient was on the Bella Vista ventilator on exactly the same settings when compared with the existing machine at the time."

A ventilator is a machine used to help a patient to breathe. It pushes air and oxygen into the lungs through a breathing tube called an endotracheal or tracheostomy tube. It is considered a form of life support since it assists or replaces the function of the lungs.

Pink Ladies and Males volunteers auxiliary president Brian Minnett said: "After witnessing first-hand a demonstration of what the ventilator can do, we felt proud and excited to be part of a first for the hospital."

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