Nitric oxide is a gas. When nitric oxide gets to the lungs it relaxes the blood vessels. This makes the blood vessels widen and helps the lungs to get more oxygen.
Nitric oxide also helps reduce strain on the right side of the heart which pumps blood to the lungs.
A nitric oxide machine works with the ventilator to support the patient's breathing.
This topic has been reviewed by an intensive care medicine specialist in July 2022.