Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Doctors develop life-saving, low-cost ventilators for emergency, rural and military use

Date:
January 30, 2010
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
Anesthetists have designed three prototype low-cost ventilators that could provide vital support during major health care emergencies involving large numbers of patients, such as pandemics, and where resources are limited, such as in developing countries, remote locations or by the military. The team says it is possible to make simple ventilators that could be mass-produced for crises where there is an overwhelming demand for mechanical ventilation and a limited oxygen supply.

A group of UK anaesthetists have designed and tested three prototype low-cost ventilators that could provide vital support during major healthcare emergencies involving large numbers of patients or casualties. The devices, detailed in a paper published online by Anaesthesia, could also be used where resources are limited, such as in developing countries, remote locations or by the military.

"Our research has demonstrated that it is possible to make a gas-efficient ventilator costing less than 200, for use where 2-4 bar oxygen is available, with no pressurised air or electrical requirements" says consultant anaesthetist Dr John Dingley from Morriston Hospital, Swansea.

"Such a device could be mass-produced for crises where there is an overwhelming demand for mechanical ventilation and a limited oxygen supply."

Problems with limited oxygen supply date back to the First World War when medical professionals had to deal with the large numbers of casualties affected by poison gas.

"The physiologist J S Haldane developed a delivery system that provided a high flow of oxygen from a modest fresh gas flow" says Dr Dingley, who is also a Reader in Anaesthetics at Swansea University.

"Modern equipment has become so sophisticated that we have, in some ways, lost sight of the basic principles that can be adopted in emergency healthcare situations.

"So our aim was to extend Haldane's concept of maximally efficient oxygen delivery to include pneumatic gas-powered ventilator designs.

"The initial design was envisaged as a ventilator for difficult environments, especially military scenarios, where large oxygen cylinders would be impractical, or in short supply, and electrical power would be unavailable.

"This led to two variants that are suited to emergency construction in bulk for mass deployment prior to a respiratory failure pandemic or other major healthcare situation."

All three designs operate on the principle that the energy is taken from approximately 1 l.min-1 compressed oxygen at a supply pressure of 2-4 bar to provide the motive force to ventilate the lungs.

"After the stored energy has been used to provide motive power in this way, the waste oxygen -- which is now at atmospheric pressure -- is then re-used to enrich the air being drawn into the ventilator before it is delivered to the lungs" explains Dr Dingley.

"In this way, most of the breathable oxygen is obtained from ambient air."

A mechanical test lung was used to test the three devices and this showed that they would provide effective ventilation for patients who were unable to breathe unaided. The devices were also tested over a range of lung volumes and compliances, which indicated that the oxygen consumption was considerably lower than that of the commercially available gas powered ventilators currently on the market.

This means that even if the devices had to be used over an extended period of time, they would use less than conventional units. They would also provide a viable and financially attractive alternative to buying extra critical care ventilators, which are expensive, complex microprocessor-driven devices.

"These devices could be used anywhere that 2-4 bar oxygen is available, such as a converted ward with no piped air or electricity" says Dr Dingley. "In extreme circumstances, they could even run on hospital compressed air, using very little air from the hospital's compressor reservoir.

"The concept, although unconventional, also allows an attending staff member to take over manual ventilation of the patient, with air if necessary, if a hospital's pneumatic mechanism or gas supply fails.

"The mechanism could possibly be made as a single-use device and stockpiled for crises where there is an overwhelming demand for mechanical ventilation, such as a pandemic."

Dr Dingley points out that major healthcare emergencies can call for creative solutions and that these can often be unorthodox.

For example during the 1952 Copenhagen polio epidemic, relays of medical students manually ventilated the lungs of patients with tracheostomies under the guidance of the anaesthetist. And in Beijing in 2003, trainees from unrelated specialties found themselves managing a sealed intensive therapy unit filled with avian flu victims, while receiving clinical guidance from overseas experts via a mobile phone.

"Health services are not designed to cope with the most extreme situations and fast, easy solutions can quite literally save lives" says Dr Dingley. "We feel that the low oxygen consumption pneumatic ventilators we have designed and tested could provide a low-cost, speedy solution in a crisis. They could also be used for a wide range of applications, such as rural healthcare and armed conflicts."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Williams et al. A low oxygen consumption pneumatic ventilator for emergency construction during a respiratory failure pandemic. Anaesthesia, 2010; DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.2009.06207.x

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Doctors develop life-saving, low-cost ventilators for emergency, rural and military use." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100125094643.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2010, January 30). Doctors develop life-saving, low-cost ventilators for emergency, rural and military use. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100125094643.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Doctors develop life-saving, low-cost ventilators for emergency, rural and military use." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100125094643.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins