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What To Expect When You're Taken Off of a Ventilator

"Weaning" is the process of taking you off of a ventilator so that you can start to breathe on your own. People usually are weaned after they've recovered enough from the problem that caused them to need the ventilator.

Weaning usually begins with a short trial. You stay connected to the ventilator, but you're given a chance to breathe on your own. Most people are able to breathe on their own the first time weaning is tried. Once you can successfully breathe on your own, the ventilator is stopped.

If you can't breathe on your own during the short trial, weaning will be tried at a later time. If repeated weaning attempts over a long time don't work, you may need to use the ventilator long term.

After you're weaned, the breathing tube is removed. You may cough while this is happening. Your voice may be hoarse for a short time after the tube is removed.

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February 1, 2011